In a press conference on Tuesday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a series of education reform bills for the state aimed at providing students the cornerstones of American civics and discourse.
"The bill also expands our previous efforts in civics to add a requirement for the High School government class, that students receive instruction on the evils of communism and totalitarian ideologies. We have a number of people in Florida, particularly southern Florida, who have escaped totalitarian regimes, who have escaped communist dictatorships to be able to come to America."
DeSantis said he wants students to "understand the difference" as to why someone would flee places like Cuba and Vietnam in order to seek refuge in the United States. A 'Portraits in Patriotism' library is included in these bills to highlight refugees who did just that.
The bills that the Governor signed included:
- HB 5: this is the bill discussed in the clip above. It dictates that the Florida Department of Education needs "to develop or approve integrated civic education curriculum" for grades K through 12.
- HB 233: bars the State Board of Education "from shielding students, staff, and faculty from certain speech; requires State Board of Education to conduct annual assessment on intellectual freedom & viewpoint diversity"
- SB 1108: students at state colleges and universities will be required to take a civic literary course as well as an assessment to "demonstrate competency" in civic literacy.
Today’s move is one of many high-profile steps taken by DeSantis in terms of legislation in recent months. While much of the public attention is around pushing back against critical race theory, Florida’s governor has also fought back against CDC restrictions and reined in the Big Tech companies.