Gov. DeSantis knocks critical race theory in push to change civics education in Florida

Governor pushes $106 million education plan

NAPLES, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis is looking to make changes to Florida’s civics education curriculum.

The governor talked about his plans during a news briefing in Naples on Wednesday.

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“We’re releasing a $106 million proposal to make Florida the national leader in civics education,” DeSantis said.

The governor said the program would be funded through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund.

“That was provided to the state last year through the Cares Act and subsequent additional federal appropriation,” DeSantis said. “So the money’s there.”

Part of DeSantis’s plan also calls for the state Department of Education to create a “Florida Civic Seal of Excellence.” This will be given to educators who undergo additional training modules and “micro-credentials” created by the Department of Education in partnership with “national leaders in civics professional development,” according to DeSantis.

Educators who complete these training courses and earn the “Civic Seal of Excellence” would be entitled to a $3,000 bonus, the governor said.

In making his pitch, the governor also took swipes at critical race theory. According to Purdue University, critical race theory scholarship shows how racism continues to be persuasive and why it denies individuals their constitutional rights.

“Let me be clear there is no room in our classrooms for things like critical race theory, teaching kids to hate their country and to hate each other is not worth one red cent of taxpayer money,” DeSantis said.

The governor went on to say that such education pushes a specific ideology that is indoctrinating children, though he did not provide any specific examples of what he meant.

“It’s not going to be ideological or faddish curriculum that you see some of these other states,” DeSantis said. “They’re trying to make people view each other based on race, I want to do the opposite. I want to treat people as individuals. I want to treat people based on character, but when you put this curriculum in, it ends up creating more divisions and so I think we understand some of the things that that are not working in other parts of the country and we don’t want that to come to Florida.”

DeSantis said his long-term goal is to have high school seniors take a civics test within the next two years in order to graduate.

“We will be within the next two years, having all the graduating seniors, passing effectively a citizenship test, like, like legal immigrants have to pass to become citizens of our country,” DeSantis said.

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About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.