Florida Becomes Latest State To Ban Critical Race Theory In Schools
Florida has banned critical race theory from being taught in schools, after the state’s governor said that teaching about systemic racism ‘indoctrinated’ children.
A new amendment, which was passed unanimously by Florida’s State Board of Education on Thursday, states that history taught in schools must be ‘factual and objective’ and explicitly bans teaching American history through the lens of critical race theory.
Lessons ‘may not utilize material from the 1619 Project [a New York Times series reframing American history around the first arrival of slave ships] and may not define American history as something other than the creation of a new nation based largely on universal principles stated in the Declaration of Independence,’ the amendment reads.
AP reports that dozens of people came forward to speak about the amendment in an hours-long public debate ahead of the vote. Urging the board to reject the proposals, Florida Education Association Public Policy Advocate Cathy Boehme said that ‘the job of educators is to challenge students with facts and allow them to question and think critically about information, and that’s the antithesis of indoctrination’.
She added, ‘No matter our color, background or ZIP Code, we want our kids to have an education that imparts honesty about who we are, integrity and how we treat others, and courage to do what’s right.’
Critical race theory is a decades-old academic movement that seeks to reframe the way American history is taught, and to emphasise the continued impact of systemic racism, white supremacy and slavery on American society.
In recent months, the issue has become a key talking point for Republicans, who argue that the theory is divisive, and ‘hostile to white people,’ per The Washington Post.
According to The Hill, at least 21 states have passed or considered legislation banning critical race theory from being taught in schools, despite there being little evidence to suggest that teachers explicitly refer to ‘critical race theory’ or its supportive texts in lessons.
In a tweet following the vote, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said, ‘Florida’s education system exists to create opportunity for our children. Critical race theory teaches kids to hate our country and to hate each other. It is state-sanctioned racism and has no place in Florida schools.’
DeSantis had previously been outspoken in opposition to teaching children about systemic racism, saying that doing so would lead them to believe ‘the country is rotten and that our institutions are illegitimate’.
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