Ron DeSantis recently unveiled Florida's new Civics Education Curriculum and it's not your grandmother's Problems In American Democracy class.
This past week has seen the Supreme Court toss out fundamental freedoms and protections, threaten additional rights, and open the door for right wing state legislators to continue their assaults on the LGBTQ+ Community, women, and people of color. Amidst all of this turmoil, it would be easy to overlook something that sounds as benign (and boring) as revised curriculum standards for civics. But, in fact, these revisions are at the heart of GOP efforts to undermine and destroy our liberty and our democracy.
The real agenda behind DeSantis’ Civics curriculum became painfully obvious last week when teachers in Broward County were trained on the new standards for that curriculum.
According to a front-page story in the Tampa Bay Times on July 2, “Program instructors pushed a ‘Christian Fundamentalist’ view of American history, teachers said.”
“Teachers…said they don’t object to the state’s new standards for civics, but they do take issue with how the state wants them taught,” the Times reported. DeSantis and the Republican legislature have already pushed policies that limit what teachers can say about race, gender, and history, and have banned books that allegedly violate those policies. In the Broward sessions, the “trainers told Broward teachers the nation’s founders did not desire a strict separation of state and church, downplayed the role the colonies and later the United States had in the history of slavery… and pushed a judicial theory, favored by…DeSantis, that requires people interpret the Constitution as the framers intended it, not as a living, evolving document…” (For a copy of the slides used in the training, click here. Note that they do not include trainers’ comments.)
There is no secret about GOP intent – what DeSantis describes as “a battle for the next generation in education.” In a speech to a right wing leadership seminar, Richard Corcoran, DeSantis’ former Commissioner of Education, said education is “100% ideological. Education is our sword. That’s our weapon. Our weapon is education. And we can do it. We can get it right.”
The Supreme Course has dealt blows to our freedom that will last for decades. Republicans aim to change our education system and re-write history so that future generations learn to accept their attacks on liberty and democracy. But we can fight back. We can elect a governor who represents both the people of this state and stands for principles of democracy and freedom. We can elect school board members who monitor curriculum revisions and help assure accuracy and fairness. We can change the balance of power in the Florida Legislature so that our children receive a world class education rather than right wing indoctrination.
But these things won’t just happen. We need to work together to reclaim this state and this nation. Volunteer, donate, talk to your family and neighbors – do something to save our children and our future.