Panama City, FL –
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – The Florida State Board of Education on Thursday banned “critical race theory” from public school classrooms, passing new rules it said would protect students. school children programs that could “distort historical events”.
Florida’s decision was widely anticipated as a national debate intensifies over how race should be used as a lens in classrooms to examine the country’s tumultuous history.
Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis appeared by video at the top of the meeting, urging members, many of whom have been appointed, to adopt the new measures he suggested that would serve the facts to students rather than “trying to indoctrinate them. with an ideology “.
The Black Lives Matter movement helped bring controversial discussions of race to the forefront of American discourse, and classrooms became a battleground. Proponents argue that federal law preserved the unequal treatment of people on the basis of race, and that the country was founded on the theft of land and labor.
Opponents say schoolchildren shouldn’t learn America is inherently racist. Governors and legislatures in Republican-led states across the country are considering or have signed bills that would limit how teachers can frame American history.
Both sides accuse the other of politicizing classroom education and violating the free speech rights of countless people by limiting authorized views.
Florida law already requires schools to provide education on a host of fundamental principles, including the Declaration of Independence, the Holocaust, and African American history, but the topics have often been confused. Current events, notably the murders of blacks by the police, have intensified the debates.
In his brief appearance Thursday, DeSantis called it “scandalous” the way some instructors deviate from what he and others see as the basis of the story.
“Some of these things are, I think, really toxic,” DeSantis told the school board. “I think it’s going to cause a lot of division. I think this will make people think of themselves more as a member of a particular race based on their skin color, rather than on the content of their character and hard work and what they try. to accomplish in life.
The Florida Education Association called on the board to reject the proposal.
“Students deserve the best education we can offer, which means giving them a true picture of their world and our shared history as Americans. Hiding the facts doesn’t change them. Give kids the whole truth and empower them to form their own minds and think for themselves, ”Union President Andrew Spar said in a statement earlier this week.
The association, which represents teachers across Florida, called on the board to at least remove inflammatory language from the proposed rules. A particular sore point is the use of “brainwashing” in the rule, which the union says presents an overly negative view of classroom teaching. This word, however, stuck in the rules adopted by the council.
DeSantis specifically criticized Project 1619, a classroom program spawned by a New York Times project that focuses on teaching slavery and African American history. The name of the project refers to the year that is generally believed to be when slaves were first brought to colonial America. DeSantis accused the program of distorting US history by claiming that the American Revolution was started to preserve slavery.
The journalist behind the project, Nikole Hannah-Jones, at the center of a controversy over the decision of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill not to grant him his mandate.
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