TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Top Florida education officials on Thursday voted unanimously to ban the controversial concept of "Critical Race Theory" from being taught as part of history curriculums in K-12 schools throughout the state.
In an 8-0 vote, the Florida Board of Education voted on a rule change that says "instruction on the required topics must be factual and objective, and may not suppress or distort significant historical events."
The rule change adds that teachers must "serve as facilitators for student discussion and do not share their personal views or attempt to indoctrinate or persuade students to a particular point of views."
“The woke class wants to teach kids to hate each other, rather than teaching them how to read, but we will not let them bring nonsense ideology into Florida’s schools,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “As the Governor of Florida, I love this state, and I love my country. I find it unthinkable that there are other people in positions of leadership in the federal government who believe that we should teach kids to hate our country. We will not stand for it here in Florida. I'm proud that we are taking action today to ensure our state continues to have the greatest educational system in the nation.”
The DOE is specifically discussing changes to rule number 6A-1.094124 with the title of “Required Instruction Planning and Reporting.” The Florida Education Association took issue with different parts of the rule, including subsection 3 (b) which stated:
“Instruction on the required topics must be factual and objective, and may not suppress or distort significant historical events, such as the Holocaust, and may not define American history as something other than the creation of a new nation based largely on universal principles stated in the Declaration of Independence.”
The FEA asked for the line to be changed to add in other important historical topics from American history:
“Instruction on the required topics must be factual and objective, and may not suppress or distort significant historical events, such as the Holocaust, slavery, the Civil War and Reconstruction, Jim Crow, the civil rights movement, the Trail of Tears and contributions of African Americans, Hispanic people and women to our United States. The study of American History must include discussions of the principles outlined in the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights and subsequent amendments that reflect a more diverse America than are represented in our founding documents.”
“Students deserve the best education we can provide, and that means giving them a true picture of their world and our shared history as Americans. Hiding facts doesn’t change them. Give kids the whole truth and equip them to make up their own minds and think for themselves,” said FEA President Andrew Spar.
The FEA also took issue with the use of the word “indoctrinate” in the next section of the rule that stated, “Efficient and faithful teaching further means that any discussion is appropriate for the age and maturity level of the students, and teachers serve as facilitators for student discussion and do not share their personal views or attempt to indoctrinate or persuade students to a particular point of views that is inconsistent with the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards and the Benchmarks for Excellent Study Thinking Standards.”
The FEA asked for the word indoctrinate to be substituted with the word persuade saying that by using it in this context, “seems to condone indoctrination if it is associated with the NGSSS and B.E.S.T Standards and is inconsistent with teachers as facilitators as described…”
The changes proposed by the DOE and those made by the FEA come at a time of heightened politicization surrounding education.
Multiple states have made changes to state curriculum to specifically outlaw the possibility of teaching, critical race theory.
What is Critical Race Theory?
- Michigan State University Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Teacher Education at MSU’s College of Education defines critical race theory as, “a framework developed in the 1970’s by legal scholars that argues white supremacy maintains power through the law and other legal systems.” It also “dismisses the idea that racism stems from acts of individuals, but rather rooted in a system of oppression based on socially constructed racial hierarchy where white people reap material benefits over people of color resulting from misuse of power.”
- Berkeley Law Professor Khiara M. Bridges outlined key tenets of CRT to the American Bar Association:
- Recognition that race is not biologically real but is socially constructed and socially significant. It recognizes that science (as demonstrated in the Human Genome Project) refutes the idea of biological racial differences. According to scholars Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, race is the product of social thought and is not connected to biological reality.
- Acknowledgement that racism is a normal feature of society and is embedded within systems and institutions, like the legal system, that replicate racial inequality. This dismisses the idea that racist incidents are aberrations but instead are manifestations of structural and systemic racism.
- Rejection of popular understandings about racism, such as arguments that confine racism to a few “bad apples.” CRT recognizes that racism is codified in law, embedded in structures, and woven into public policy. CRT rejects claims of meritocracy or “colorblindness.” CRT recognizes that it is the systemic nature of racism that bears primary responsibility for reproducing racial inequality.
- Recognition of the relevance of people’s everyday lives to scholarship. This includes embracing the lived experiences of people of color, including those preserved through storytelling, and rejecting deficit-informed research that excludes the epistemologies of people of color.
More than a dozen states have introduced or passed laws banning the teaching of the subject, despite opposition from many educators. The theory isn’t taught in the state at the K-12 level, but Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said the rule change being considered Thursday will ban the theory completely.
“Next week, I have my Commissioner of Education going to the Board of Education banning it…banning any departure from accurate history and following our standards. This is something we’ve got to stay on the forefront of,” DeSantis told Fox News Channel, according to FloridaPolitics.com.
Thursday’s meeting started at 9 a.m. at Florida State College at Jacksonville.