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State bans critical race theory in public schools

By Nathan Mayberg - Editor | Jun 11, 2021

Gov. Ron DeSantis pushed for a ban on critical race theory, which the Florida Board of Education voted to outlaw in public schools. / File photo by Nathan Mayberg

Critical race theory, a controversial topic interpreted by its opponents to be distorting American history and deepening racial divide and supported by those who consider it necessary to teach about the country’s racial divide, was banned in public schools by the Florida Board of Education on Thursday.

The ban was pushed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, who stated “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 he found 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 measure passed by the Florida Board of Education is an amendment to Rule 6A, which states in part “instruction on the required topics must be factual and objective, and may not suppress or distort significant historical events, such as the Holocaust, slavery, the Civil War and Reconstruction, the civil rights movement and the contributions of women, African American and Hispanic people to our country.”

Examples of theories that distort historical events and are inconsistent with State Board approved standards include “the denial or minimization of the Holocaust, and the teaching of Critical Race Theory, meaning the theory that racism is not merely the product of prejudice, but that racism is embedded in American society and its legal systems in order to uphold the supremacy of white persons. Instruction may not utilize material from the 1619 Project 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. Instruction must include the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights and subsequent amendments.”

As examples of critical race theory, DeSantis cited schools in which it was taught that the whites had power, privileges and advantages that minorities didn’t have.

Another example cited was the San Diego Public Schools system in which teachers were allegedly recommended to undergo antiracist therapy.

DeSantis also provided examples of schools where students and teachers were made to rank their power and privilege based on their racial identities.