Governor Ron DeSantis renewed his effort to fight Critical Race Theory (CRT) curriculum in schools on Wednesday morning when he introduced proposed legislation that would combat the teachings.
The ‘Stop Wrong Against Our Kids and Employees Act,’ stylized as “Stop WOKE,” would prevent state funding from going to public schools that enact a CRT learning plan, and would also stop staff from being subject to what DeSantis called ‘anti-racist therapy.’
“I think what you see now with the rise of this ‘woke’ ideology is an attempt to really delegitimize our history and delegitimize our institutions,” said DeSantis. “They want to tear the fabric of our society, and our culture, and a lot of things we’ve taken for granted, like the ability of parents to raise their children.”
DeSantis’ proposal would give parents the ability to legally challenge CRT teachings in schools while also being reimbursed for attorney fees through the process.
“We are going to be including in this legislation giving parents a private right of action to be able to enforce the prohibition on CRT, and they get to recover attorney’s fees when they prevail, which is very important,” DeSantis said. “A lot of times these people will fear lawsuits more than a fine from the State Department of Education.”
The governor also took aim at corporate America, condemning conglomerates like Bank of America and Google for implementing company-wide trainings targeting racial equity amid racial justice protests in 2020. The Florida Department of Education banned CRT in June. The ruling stated that topics must be factual and objective, specifically prohibiting the teaching of Critical Race Theory – the theory that racism is not merely the product of prejudice, but that racism is embedded in American society and its legal systems.
DeSantis’ opponents were quick to call foul on the announcement.
“Many of us know that teachers in our local schools do their best to ensure our children thrive. They’ve been on the front lines of the pandemic showing that they’ll do all they can to keep our kids healthy and safe,” said Representative Angie Nixon (Jacksonville). “Sadly, Ron DeSantis and Republicans want to convince us that somehow our schools, full of teachers that care and want the best for our kids, are actually factories programming students to be racist. Once again, our children are being used to play divisive political games that appeal to his far-right extremist base.”