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Photo illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photo: Paul Hennessy/Getty Images

Following his successful effort to ban critical race theory in public schools, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis expanded his war against student "indoctrination" on Wednesday.

What's happening: DeSantis signed three pieces of education legislation yesterday — all of which could have wide-ranging impacts on students' education and schools' funding.

  1. Requires state colleges and universities to annually survey their students, faculty and staff about their beliefs to ensure "viewpoint diversity and intellectual freedom."
  2. Protects free speech by preventing state colleges and universities from limiting student access to ideas "they may find uncomfortable, unwelcome, disagreeable, or offensive."
  3. Creates a K-12 civics curriculum that contrasts the U.S. with communist and totalitarian governments using "portraits in patriotism."

Why it matters: DeSantis hinted his administration might cut funding to schools that don't comply. "That’s not worth tax dollars and that’s not something that we’re going to be supporting moving forward," he said.

  • He was short on specifics, as the Tampa Bay Times notes, failing to name any schools or incidents to back up his claims of "intellectually repressive environments."
  • The legislation as written includes no guarantees that the survey results will remain anonymous.

The big picture: Other top Republicans quickly fell in line.

  • Senate President Wilton Simpson (R-Trilby) called Florida's public universities "socialism factories" at a state university system’s Board of Governors meeting in St. Pete.

The other side: One of DeSantis' 2022 Democratic challengers, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried called the bills "what authoritarian regimes do."

What's next: The law goes into effect on July 1. The survey will be conducted annually with reports published each September, starting in 2022.

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Go deeper

DeSantis signs law requiring college faculty, students to take surveys on beliefs

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed legislation requiring state colleges and universities to annually survey their students, faculty and staff about their beliefs to ensure "viewpoint diversity and intellectual freedom."

Why it matters: The legislation doesn't specify for what the survey results will be used, but at a press conference on Tuesday DeSantis said that schools found to be "indoctrinating" students aren't "worth tax dollars" and are "not something we’re going to be supporting going forward."

Warren delaying confirmation of Biden education nominee over student loan policies

Elizabeth Warren. Photo: Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is delaying the confirmation of President Biden's pick to lead higher-education policy at the Education Department as she pushes for reforms of the federal student loans program, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The state of play: The negotiations have hampered the swift confirmation of James Kvaal as undersecretary of education, whose nomination to the position was advanced with bipartisan support by the Senate's education panel in April.

John Frank, author of Denver
Jun 23, 2021 - Axios Denver

Colorado GOP pushes against teaching critical race theory

Photo Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Photo by David J. & Janice L. Frent/Corbis via Getty Images, NY Daily News via Getty Images, Bettmann / Contributor, Dave Rushen/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images, Star Tribune via Getty Images.

Republicans are pushing to make the teaching of critical race theory a political issue in Colorado by targeting local school boards.

Why it matters: A year after George Floyd's killing, how systemic racism is — or is not — taught in public schools has become a new fault line in the culture wars, with implications for how the next generation of Americans understands U.S. history, writes Axios' Russell Contreras.