CV NEWS FEED // Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-FL, signed three bills into law which create new requirements for civic literacy and an understanding of the evils of Communism and other totalitarian ideologies among K-12 students. One of the laws also requires “viewpoint diversity and intellectual freedom” at public universities.
“The sad reality is that only two in five Americans can correctly name the three branches of government, and more than a third of Americans cannot name any of the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment,” said DeSantis at a signing ceremony Wednesday. “It is abundantly clear that we need to do a much better job of educating our students in civics to prepare them for the rest of their lives.”
House Bill 5 will require Florida public high schools to drill students in American civics, and Senate Bill 1108 will make an understanding of American government a requirement for graduation.
HB5 also states that Florida high school civics education “must include a comparative discussion of political ideologies, such as communism and totalitarianism, that conflict with the principles of freedom and democracy essential to the founding principles of the United States.”
“We have a number of people in Florida, particularly southern Florida, who’ve escaped totalitarian regimes, who’ve escaped communist dictatorships to be able to come to America,” DeSantis said:
We want all students to understand the difference. Why would somebody flee across shark-infested waters, say, leaving from Cuba to come to southern Florida? Why would somebody leave a place like Vietnam? Why would people leave these countries and risk their lives to be able to come here? It’s important that students understand that.
House Bill 233, which DeSantis also signed into law Wednesday, directs the State Board of Education to “require each Florida College System institution to conduct an annual assessment of the intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity at that institution.”
In addition, the new legislation requires “objective, non-partisan” standards to protect students and faculty so that they “feel free to express their beliefs and viewpoints on campus and in the classroom.”
DeSantis spoke at Three Oaks Middle School in Fort Myers, FL, about the need for more robust civic education: