Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis proposes a budget to update civics curriculum; removing critical race theory in the process

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Civics teachers will have to rework their curriculum focuses under this new proposal.

Cassidy Tarr

On March 17, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis proposed a new budget to fund the state’s civics curriculum. $16.5 million of the $106 million budget would be put towards shifting the curriculum towards foundational concepts and moving away from critical theory teachings.

During a news conference in Naples, Florida, DeSantis reported that the curriculum change was meant to deter teachers from teaching critical race theory education as he believes it pushes specific ideologies onto children.

Critical race theory, in itself, is something largely debated upon in politics. It is widely considered a more taboo topic, usually sparking heavy debates and hard thinking. It is a construct created through identifying behaviors from the past and labeling them under an umbrella term.

According to Britannica, critical race theory is an “intellectual movement and loosely organized framework of legal analysis based on the premise that race is not a natural, biologically grounded feature of physically distinct subgroups of human beings but a socially constructed (culturally invented) category that is used to oppress and exploit people of color.”

DeSantis feels as though the classroom shouldn’t be a place for debate among students. He suggests that CRT in school will cause unnecessary divisive values and conflict among students. DeSantis strives for a more neutral classroom, politics-wise and feels removing teachings of CRT in school could contribute to this ideal standard.

On the other hand, many feel as though purposefully choosing to remove pieces of curriculum from school education that criticize our country is unfair to students. Although CRT may or may not push a certain agenda, some believe educating children on systemic racism from an early age will bring them together, rather than divide them.

“Although I do think teaching CRT pushes a certain agenda, it’s for a good cause. Teaching students about subtle racism helps show them that the snide comments they make are bad; when someone would make comments like ‘Asian people eat dogs,’ or ‘Brown people smell bad,’ they would realize that that’s not a good thing to say,” Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School freshman Aisha Hashmi said. “Hopefully, it would help change their behavior.”

Along with the proposed curriculum change in schools, DeSantis wishes to retrain the teachers and principals of Florida schools by using the $16.5 million set aside. This money would go into training staff in civics education using “civics coaches.”

In addition to the training, DeSantis plans to encourage the Department of Education to create the Florida Civic Seal of Excellence, a professional endorsement for teachers who were trained. A $3,000 bonus may also be bestowed upon the newly-trained teachers.

No further information has been given on the proposal; as of April 16, it is still an unofficial plan.