Florida’s state board of education announced Thursday that it is banning “critical race theory” from public school classrooms, saying new rules to protect schoolchildren from curricula “distort historical events” will be created.
The move was widely expected, and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis pushed for a ban, according to the Associated Press. He appeared by video at the start of the meeting of school board members to urge them to approve the measure.
“Some of this stuff is, I think, really toxic,” DeSantis said of the important race theory in the video. “I think it’s going to cause a lot of divisions. I think it’s going to cause people to view people as members of a particular caste based on the color of their skin, based on the content of their character and their hard work. I will inspire myself to think more and what they are trying to achieve in life.”
The governor also told board members that he did not want schools to stop teaching children about slavery or the civil rights movement. Instead, he said, he just wants to make sure that students don’t “hear stories that aren’t based on facts.” He said he wanted to prevent children from learning the “wrong history” that could teach them to “look back and defame the Founding Fathers, discredit the American Revolution”.
Lawmakers in more than a dozen Republican-led states have recently called for a ban on teachers from discussing important race theory in schools. Currently, the subject is not taught in Florida’s public schools, but DeSantis said the measure passed Thursday would prevent that from happening.
Opponents of the doctrine regard its teaching as divisive, and some call it anti-American. Meanwhile, Critical Race Theory proponents believe that federal laws still lead to discrimination against people based on race. The theory also teaches that the United States was founded on the theft of land from indigenous peoples.
The Florida Education Association called on the board to reject the proposal. The union’s president, Andrew Spar, said in a statement this week that “students deserve the best education we can provide, and that means giving them a truer picture of our world and our shared history as Americans.” “
“Hide the facts doesn’t change them,” Spur continued. “Give children the whole truth and prepare them to make up their mind and think for themselves.”
Granthshala Contacted DeSantis and the Florida Education Association offices for comment but did not hear back in time for publication.
Update, 06/10/21 2:20 PM EDT: This story has been updated to include more information from the Florida Board of Education about the new rules, as well as some background information about the important race theory.