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Florida board votes to ban critical race theory from state classrooms

Leslie Postal, Orlando Sentinel on

Published in News & Features

Quisha King of Moms for Liberty in Jacksonville called it an effort to make white children feel they are oppressors and everyone else that they are victims.

“Telling my child that they are in a permanent oppressed status is racist,” King said.

“Don’t let schools teach kids to be ashamed for their race,” reads the website of the Florida Citizens Alliance, a conservative group that has urged DeSantis to root out critical race theory and “its many tentacles” from the state’s schools.

The seven state board members who voted on the Florida rule were appointed by DeSantis or by former Gov. Rick Scott, a fellow Republican now serving as one of Florida’s U.S. senators, so their approval was not surprising.

On May 27, Scott introduced a Senate resolution that criticizes critical race theory and says “efforts to indoctrinate” the subject into schools “are designed to eventually transform the United States by stigmatizing its economic system and creating a hatred of all its institutions.”

The new Florida rule says teachers may not ”share their personal views or attempt to indoctrinate or persuade students to a particular point of view that is inconsistent” with state standards.

It also says that, “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, the civil rights movement and the contributions of women, African American and Hispanic people to our country."

 

Gregory Sampson, a high school math teacher in Jacksonville, thinks DeSantis, considered a potential presidential candidate for the 2024 election, is using critical race theory to score political points with Trump’s base.

“I don’t think the governor and his fellow Republicans really understand what critical race theory does,” he said in an interview. “It’s not a criticism. It’s a critique, a way of looking at how history has unfolded.”

And it means recognizing racism. “It’s there. You can’t deny it,” said Sampson, who writes about education on his Grumpy Old Teacher blog. But he thinks DeSantis wants to return to a time when race wasn’t mentioned.

“That’s how it was in the old days, the days of segregation, Jim Crow, and unchallenged White Supremacy,” he wrote in a recent blog post.

DeSantis also has pushed for a rewrite of the state’s civics standards, the benchmarks for what students learn in social studies classes kindergarten through 12th grade. That effort has also proved controversial as he also wants those lessons to focus on “the success of the United States.”

The state board could vote on the new civic benchmarks on July 14.

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