TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida Board of Education on Thursday approved an amendment that Gov. Ron DeSantis advanced in order to ban teaching certain ideas about race and history.

The board agreed to ban teaching critical race theory in state schools.


What You Need To Know

  • The Florida Board of Education approved ban on "critical race theory"

  • Critical race theory proposes systemic racism is part of American society

  • Gov. DeSantis, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran have proposed banning critical race theory

Critical race theory proposes that systemic racism is part of American society and challenges the beliefs that allow it to flourish. The theory, which was started in the 1970s, is a way to examine how laws and systems promote inequality, but it has since expanded. 

The board passed an amended version of the amendment to the rule that specifically bans critical race theory and bans any content from the New York Times' 1619 project from being taught in Florida’s classrooms.

Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran had proposed a rule that would force teachers to align their civics lessons to a traditional view of American history.

Gov. Ron DeSantis joined the State Board of Education meeting virtually to describe why he feels critical race theory should not be in Florida classrooms. 

“The woke class wants to teach kids to hate each other, rather than teaching them how to read, but we will not let them bring nonsense ideology into Florida’s schools,” DeSantis said. “As the Governor of Florida, I love this state, and I love my country. I find it unthinkable that there are other people in positions of leadership in the federal government who believe that we should teach kids to hate our country.

“We will not stand for it here in Florida. I'm proud that we are taking action today to ensure our state continues to have the greatest educational system in the nation.”

 

The board appears ready to vote on critical race theory, which could be banned from public schools across the state.

The move would ignore any in-depth teaching about what supporters say is a systemic engine of race bias and privilege in U.S. society, and would block teachers from sharing personal views or indoctrinating students to a point of view that doesn't align with the curriculum.

The Florida Education Association has reiterated opposition to an expected ban of critical race theory, urging “some respect” from the Board of Education to teachers in a June email blast.

And Dr. Vonzoll Agosto with the University of South Florida tells us banning critical race theory will leave a big gap in student education.

"I’m worried about the ban, the potential ban on critical race theory, as a way of limiting students access to critical thinking, to ethical deliberation,” said Agosto, an associate professor in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. “And being able to understand what happens in the us with regards to race and racism."

Florida's legislature has not moved on a bill that the governor could have signed.

Now it's up to Florida's Board of Education, with any decision from the board potentially being fought in court.

The Florida Board of Education is expected to make a decision on this rule amendment today. You can find the board's agenda here.