Dec 16, 2021 - Politics

DeSantis targets critical race theory — again

DeSantis
Photo: Bridget Bennett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) introduced a legislative proposal Wednesday to allow parents to sue public school districts if they teach critical race theory.

The big picture: The proposal comes months after DeSantis directed the Florida Board of Education to ban critical race theory in schools. State Democrats have slammed the actions, pointing out that CRT is not taught in Florida K-12 schools.

Catch-up quick: Critical race theory is an academic framework created by legal scholars in the 1970s that focuses on systemic racism, especially in the U.S. legal system.

  • Despite not being taught in most K-12 schools in the United States, CRT has become a major talking point for Republicans, who broadened the debate to include how history and racial justice should be discussed in the classroom.

Details: DeSantis' bill, titled the "Stop W.O.K.E. Act," would codify the prohibition on teaching CRT in Florida's public school system and bar state colleges and universities from hiring CRT consultants.

  • It also targets companies that implement what he called "CRT-inspired training," alleging that a Google employee program taught that all Americans are "raised to be racist."

What he's saying: We "are taking a stand against the state-sanctioned racism that is critical race theory," DeSantis said in a statement.

  • "We won't allow Florida tax dollars to be spent teaching kids to hate our country or to hate each other," he added.

The other side: "Let’s be clear, Gov. DeSantis and his administration know full well that CRT is not taught in K-12 schools or workplaces," State Sen. Shevrin Jones (D-West Park) told Axios.

  • Instead "of running on forward-looking ideas to improve people's daily lives, Republicans would rather manufacture a crisis out of a non-issue, all in the hopes of fanning the flames of a culture war for political gain."
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