The Florida Board of Education (BOE) approved a proposal today, banning the controversial concept of ‘critical race theory’ and implementing new rules on how American history is taught in public schools.
The Board held a meeting at the Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ) to discuss changes to rule number 6A-1.094124, also known as “Required Instruction Planning and Reporting,” that would impact the way history is taught in K-12 public schools. The 7 member committee, along with Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, heard lengthy — and at times unruly — public testimony before overwhelmingly approving the new guidelines proposed by Governor Ron DeSantis. According to the proposed rule, the new teaching standards would prevent educators from injecting critical race theory into the classroom and bar them from attempting: “….to indoctrinate or persuade students to a particular point of view.”
The new rule reads: “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.”
BOE member Tom Grady offered an amendment to the rule change prior to the vote, hoping to ease tensions and add transparency to what historical events would be taught in Florida’s public school. The amendment, which passed with only two members voting against it, would also prevent the “1619 project” from being taught inside classrooms. The controversial program, spearheaded by The New York Times, argues the institution of slavery was the nation’s true founding.
Under current state law, schools are required to provide instruction on a host of fundamentals, including the Declaration of Independence, the Holocaust and African American history.
Florida’s education system exists to create opportunity for our children. Critical Race Theory teaches kids to hate our country and to hate each other. It is state-sanctioned racism and has no place in Florida schools. pic.twitter.com/ludv7ARgNP
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) June 10, 2021
Critical race theory, rooted in the idea that systemic racism is prevalent in all areas of society, states that “racism is a social construct, and that it is not merely the product of individual bias or prejudice.”
Proponents of the proposal say that critical race theory is a philosophical movement that seeks to undermine American principles and indoctrinate students into believing that the country was largely built on racism.
Addressing the Board by video on Thursday, DeSantis placed the crosshairs on the concept, stating that critical race theory pushes false narratives into schools.
“We have to do history that is factual,” DeSantis told the school board. “And if you look at things that have grown out of critical race theory, it’s much more about trying to craft narratives about history that are not grounded in fact.
The Governor added that critical race theory has brought “ideology and political activism into the forefront of education,” noting that the teachings are “toxic” and sow division.
“Some of this stuff is, I think, really toxic,” DeSantis continued. “I think it’s going to cause a lot of divisions. I think it’ll cause people to think of themselves more as a member of a particular race based on skin color, rather than based on the content of their character and based on their hard work and what they’re trying to accomplish in life.”
Opponents, however, say the proposed rule attempts to suppress and prohibit teachers from “teaching the truth.”
Andrew Spar, head of the Florida Education Association (FEA), argued that the proposed rule hides facts and impedes kids from making up their own minds inside the classroom.
“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,” Spar said in a statement earlier this week.
16 other states are considering or have signed into law bills that would outline how schools teach American history.
This is a developing news story.