US Gov. Ron DeSantis signs education bills on 'viewpoint diversity,' new civics curriculum in Florida
Fla. governor signs bill requiring moment for school prayer
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis visited a South Florida Jewish temple to denounce anti-Semitism and stand with Israel, as the Republican governor cloaked himself in religion Monday while signing a bill into law that would require public schools in his state to set aside at least one minute of silence for children to meditate or pray. His visit to the Shul of Bal Harbour, a Jewish community center in Surfside, Florida, had the air of a campaign event.DeSantis seemed to blush when the Rabbi Sholom Lipskar introduced him as a "great governor and future world leader.
Gov. Ron DeSantis signed three education bills Monday that direct how civics is taught in Florida public schools and universities, including one bill that seeks to assess "viewpoint diversity" on college campuses.
The three bills — House Bill 5, House Bill 233 and Senate Bill 1108 — target how civics education and debate topics will be discussed from kindergarten through higher education.
"We obviously want our universities to be focused on critical thinking, academic rigor," DeSantis said during a news conference at Three Oaks Middle School in Fort Myers. "We do not want them as basically hotbeds for stale ideology."
Ron DeSantis Offers Florida Law Enforcement to Help Texas, Arizona Combat Border Situation
Florida is the first state to offer its help to the border situation in Texas and Arizona.DeSantis announced during Wednesday press conference that Florida would send a number of officials from various state law enforcement agencies, including local sheriff's offices, Florida Highway Patrol, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Florida Fish and Wildlife, among others to help federal and state agents in Texas and Arizona.
In case you missed it:
The bill that has drawn the most attention is H.B. 233, which directs Florida's public universities to conduct annual assessments on intellectual freedom and "viewpoint diversity."
DeSantis challenged how public universities and colleges conduct debate and teachings, saying parents worry students will be "indoctrinated."
Crist Calls for DeSantis to Investigate Florida's 'Outsized' Role in Capitol Riot
As arrests in connection to the deadly attack on the Capitol continue to pile up, Florida has emerged as the state with the highest number of residents arrested for charges related to the insurrection. Of the 484 people charged in the riot, 47 were arrested in the Sunshine State.Texas and Pennsylvania have each seen 42 arrests, 36 arrests have happened in New York and 23 have occurred in Virginia, according to an online compilation of Captiol breach cases from the Justice Department."To eliminate confusion—confusion that was deliberately sown which led to the Jan.
"It used to be thought that a university campus was a place where you'd be exposed to a lot of different ideas," DeSantis said. "Unfortunately, now the norm is really these are more intellectually repressive environments."
A survey adopted by the State Board of Education or the Board of Governors of the State University System will be used to evaluate freedoms related to speech on campuses, according to the bill.
The bill also prohibits universities and colleges from “shielding students, faculty, or staff from certain speech”.
At the bill signing, state Sen. Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero, echoed DeSantis on how the bill will stop "indoctrination".
"The bedrock of higher education has traditionally been freedom of speech, viewpoint diversity, and the ability to have academic freedom," Rodrigues said. "Across the country, those bedrocks are crumbling on higher education campuses with this bill."
Ron DeSantis Edges Out Trump for President in Straw Poll of Western Conservative Summit
DeSantis led the poll with 74 percent of voters saying they approved of him as a presidential candidate ahead of Trump's 71 percent.DeSantis led the poll with 74 percent of voters saying they approved of him as a presidential candidate ahead of Trump's 71 percent. The poll was held online using the approval voting method, where voters selected multiple responses to each question.
Rodrigues led the bill through the Senate.
Last week, the Florida Board of Education adopted new rules limiting the teaching of history with a primary focus of banning critical race theory and limiting other race-related discussions from classrooms.
DeSantis spearheaded the push to ban the academic approach to systemic racism that dates back more than 40 years.
"We do not want curriculum that is judging students based on their race, and we do not want false history," DeSantis said.
Florida is one of more than a dozen states that have considered rules to prevent teachers from using critical race theory in their lessons.
In a statement issued after DeSantis signed the bill, Progress Florida Executive Director Mark Ferrulo said DeSantis and Republican lawmakers are manufacturing "fake controversies."
“Floridians still believe in an American Dream that celebrates the successes of our country without focusing on distractions that seek to divide us instead of allowing all students the freedom to learn and understand other cultures and experiences," Ferrulo said.
Trump clash ahead: Ron DeSantis positions himself as GOP's future in a direct-mail piece
The mailer proves that DeSantis is a brilliant player, positioning himself as the GOP’s future while only lightly kissing the ring of his “creator.”Recently catching my eye was a slick, oversized envelope from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis with that distinct look of a fundraising appeal one would receive from a potential 2024 presidential candidate.
known as the "Portraits of Patriotism Act," tasks Florida's Department of Education to develop civics curriculum that will include lessons on the "evils" of communist and totalitarian regimes.
DeSantis condemned how some colleges and universities discuss communist leaders and ideologies.
Mao Zedong, a Chinese communist revolutionary, is spoken of "positively" on college campuses and Che Guevara, a Cuban revolutionary, is celebrated on shirts, he said.
"This guy was a total communist thug and yet that's the kind of environment that you see," DeSantis said. "And so I think by us having this, we're really going to be, I think pushing back against some of the whitewashing that's been done."
S.B. 1108 seeks "to build bridges civics education between our high schools and post-secondary institutions," DeSantis said.
State college and university students will be required to take an assessment in addition to a civics literacy course as a graduation requirement. Currently, college students are only required to complete one.
The bill further requires high school students to take a civics assessment prior to graduation, DeSantis said.
The high school assessment doesn't have high stake consequences, he said. If students pass the civics test, they will be waived from the post-secondary assessment.
In 2019, DeSantis announced a plan for a civics exam closely resembling the test to become a naturalized U.S. citizen.
DeSantis has previously stated that he wants Florida to be considered "No.1" in civics literacy across the country.
In January 2019, DeSantis issued an executive order calling for a complete overhaul of Florida's education standards, which included eliminating Common Core, a set of education standards from 2010.
DeSantis and the state Department of Education shifted a focus to civics learning shortly thereafter.
Rachel Fradette is an education reporter for the Naples Daily News. Follow her on Twitter:, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on Naples Daily News:
Rising GOP star Ron DeSantis goes after campus thoughtcrime with vague, threatening new law .
Likely 2024 contender leads GOP assault on academic freedom with bill aiming to drive "stale ideology" off campus Florida Gov.