State Board of Education to vote on controversial civics standards; DeSantis earlier attended meeting

By: - July 14, 2021 12:17 pm

Gov. Ron DeSantis and New College of Florida’s interim president Richard Corcoran at a Board of Education meeting July 14, 2021. The picture was taken when Corcoran was the education commissioner. Credit: Danielle J. Brown

Gov. Ron DeSantis showed up Wednesday at Florida’s State Board of Education meeting, which includes a vote over controversial civics standards.

It’s unusual that DeSantis would be in person at the state board meeting, but there’s been controversy for weeks now about everything from a ban on Critical Race Theory and the 1619 Project, as well as civics standards that do not include the word slavery.

First Lady Casey DeSantis also was at the meeting earlier in this morning.

The couple was met with applause at St. Petersburg College in Pinellas County, where the meeting is being held.

The governor spoke on various changes to Florida education over the past few months, from legislative measures to teach the “evils of communism” to recent changes made to Florida rules banning an academic studies.

Each highlight DeSantis gave was met with cheers in support with the crowd, with a few vocal opponents in the mix.

First Lady Casey DeSantis, who spoke on various initiatives at the state level to support mental health among Florida students

“We don’t want our kids to feel like victims, we want them to be empowered,” Lady DeSantis said of these initiatives. The First Lady of Florida has been a vocal advocate for the mental health and well-being of Florida’s students.

One of the main goals of the July meeting is to approve new standards for certain school subjects: Holocaust standards, civics standards, substance use and abuse standards, and what’s called “character education.”

DeSantis has said before that “Florida’s civics curriculum will incorporate foundational concepts with the best materials, and it will expressly exclude unsanctioned narratives like critical race theory and other unsubstantiated theories.”

Critical race theory is an approach to American history that began to emerge during the 1970s to explain the persistence of racism in society. In essence, it’s concerned with institutional racism, the idea that white supremacy so pervades our culture that many people take for granted as the natural order the distortions it imposes on human relations.

The 1619 Project explores American History by focusing the narratives, experiences, and contributions of Black people in America.

DeSantis recently vetoed a civics education bill, SB 146 — which got bipartisan support from lawmakers — in part because of what’s called “action civics,” which critics consider leftist.

What does action civics mean?

According to a commentary posted on the website of The Heritage Foundation, a nonprofit, conservative think tank, action civics “encourages students to participate in protests and demonstrations more than study history and our founding ideals, and understand the structure of American government.”

In another article, from the conservative National Review said “the bill is likely to bring leftist ‘action civics’ to Florida.”



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Danielle J. Brown
Danielle J. Brown

Danielle J. Brown is a 2018 graduate of Florida State University. She has served as an editorial intern for International Program’s annual magazine and Rowland Publishing. She was born and raised in Tallahassee and reviews community theater productions for the Tallahassee Democrat.