News & Politics

Florida Bans Critical Race Theory in Schools

AP Photo/John Raoux

On Thursday, the Florida Department of Education approved a policy that explicitly bans Marxist critical race theory (CRT) from public schools.

The original rule, proposed by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), did not explicitly condemn critical race theory, but barred teachers from attempting “to indoctrinate or persuade students to a particular point of view.”

The final version, however, prohibits “fiction or theory masquerading as facts, such as critical race theory.” By voice vote, the seven-member Board of Education adopted an amendment sponsored by board member Tom Grady. The board then unanimously passed the amended version, Just the News reported.

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“Instruction on the required topics must be factual and objective, and may not suppress or distort significant historical events, such as the Holocaust, 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 proposed rule read.

The Florida Education Association (FEA), the state’s largest teacher’s union, opposed the inclusion of the word “indoctrinate” in the rule because partisan ideologues can interpret that word in various ways. FEA also called on the board to expand the definition of “significant historical events” beyond the Holocaust.

While the board did not remove the word “indoctrinate,” Grady’s amendment added language addressing the Civil War, Reconstruction, the civil rights movement, and other “hard truths” of history.

Critical race theory justifies blatant racism in the name of promoting “equity.” One of its architects has even supported racial discrimination to counter historic discrimination and has called for a totalitarian bureaucracy to enforce his vision of “equity.” This new racism masquerades as “anti-racist,” but it judges people according to the color of their skin, not the content of their character.

Marxist thinkers invented CRT in order to upend society by claiming that hidden racism pervades American institutions. CRT teaches people to seize on any racial disparity as ipso facto proof of racial discrimination, despite the clear prohibitions on racial discrimination in federal law. Advocates claim that the American status quo is racist — if not “white supremacist” — so extreme measures to reverse historic injustices are the only “anti-racist” option.

Since American society must be secretly racist, CRT advocates attribute various aspects of society to the nefarious impact of “whiteness.” The Smithsonian briefly published a “teaching tool” infographic on “whiteness.” That infographic claimed that the nuclear family, science, capitalism, the Judeo-Christian tradition, individualism, “objective, rational linear thinking,” and even values such as “be polite” are aspects of oppressive whiteness. The Smithsonian rightly removed the graphic after facing criticism, but this incident illustrates just how mainstream CRT has become.

The demonization of “whiteness” has often translated into a demonization of white people. Dr. Chanequa Walker-Barnes, an associate professor of practical theology at Mercer University, published a devotional that included a prayer asking God to “please help me to hate white people. Or at least to want to hate them.”

CRT is spreading throughout American schools at all levels. When a superintendent in Oregon said CRT-style “anti-racism” training “isn’t optional anymore” and suggested that teachers who disagree should seek work elsewhere, school board members defended him, as did the Oregon Department of Education.

Yet parents, teachers, and elected leaders are fighting back.

“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 in a statement on the finalized rule.

“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 governor added.

“No child should be classified as a ‘victim’ or ‘oppressor’ based on their race or ethnicity,” DeSantis press secretary Christina Pushaw told Fox News. “Race essentialism in any form is destructive, especially in a diverse society where each person should be judged only by the content of their character, not the color of their skin.”

CRT advocates claim that Republican efforts to prevent schools from teaching CRT are whitewashing history, removing the painful parts of America’s past from the curriculum. This is not the case, however. Hillsdale College required me and my fellow students to engage with the ugly truths of American slavery and the causes of the Civil War while at the same time heralding the values of the Declaration of Independence, that all men are created equal and enjoy the same fundamental rights. We wrestled with America’s ugly history without embracing racialist ideas like CRT.

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Critical race theory is a destructive force in American education, pitting students against one another and sowing division between parents and educators. Florida’s Department of Education was right to exclude it by name.