Governor Ron DeSantis is doubling down on his civics education investment in the state of Florida.
The Governor announced the $106 million Civic Literacy Excellence Initiative on Tuesday during a press conference at BridgePrep Academy of Orange in Orlando. DeSantis noted that the additional funding will be used to create and award qualified teachers with the Florida Civics Seal of Excellence, which includes a $3,000 bonus for educators who complete training to earn the endorsement.
“We have a responsibility to ensure our students are prepared to be great citizens,” said DeSantis. “That is why we created a new civics curriculum in Florida and are making this important investment of more than $106 million. By July 4, 2026, our country’s 250th anniversary, we will make sure every K-12 student in Florida is educated with our new civics curriculum.”
The funding will also be used for Florida’s civics curriculum and to expedite the implementation of Florida’s B.E.S.T. Standards in Florida’s K-12 public schools.
“Through Governor DeSantis’ bold leadership, Florida is a national model for high quality civics education that benefits both students and educators,” said Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran. “The Florida Civics and Debate Initiative has been a massive success, with 161 schools from 48 districts and more than 5,500 students expected to participate in the 2021-2022 school year. The new Civics Literacy Excellence Initiative also compliments recent legislation that strengthens Florida’s commitment to every child receiving a world class civics education that prepares them to be great citizens who will lead successful lives.”
In January 2020, DeSantis announced the Florida Civics and Debate Initiative (FCDI) with The Marcus Foundation to elevate civic knowledge, civic skills and civics disposition for middle and high school students, and funded with $5 million from the Marcus Foundation. Phase One brought 59 schools in 30 school districts into the program, with more than 2,000 students participating in 24 virtual tournaments. Educators also received targeted coaching and professional development to help increase their knowledge and guide their instruction of Florida’s revised civics standards.
DeSantis added that Phase Two will begin in the 2021-2022 school year, adding 102 more schools to the initiative, for a total of 161 schools in 48 districts.
In June, DeSantis signed legislation to strengthen civics instruction and civics literacy education in Florida’s kindergarten through postsecondary public schools. The Governor has stated that he wants the Sunshine State to be the “number-one state for civic literacy.”