Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed three bills into law Tuesday that boosted civics education in the public school system and specifically teaches students the horrors of communism.
“The sad reality is that only two in five Americans can correctly name the three branches of government, and more than a third of Americans cannot name any of the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment,” DeSantis said. “It is abundantly clear that we need to do a much better job of educating our students in civics to prepare them for the rest of their lives.”
“The bill also expands our previous efforts in civics to add a requirement for the high school government class that students receive instruction on the evils of communism and totalitarian etiologies,” DeSantis said. “We have a number of people in Florida, particularly southern Florida, who’ve escaped totalitarian regimes, who’ve escaped communist dictatorships to be able to come to America.”
“We want all students to understand the difference, why would somebody flee across shark infested waters say, leaving from Cuba to come to southern Florida?” DeSantis continued. “Why would somebody leave a place like Vietnam? Why would people leave these countries and risk their life to be able to come here? It’s important that students understand that. Now as part of this bill, Florida will create a ‘Portraits in Patriotism’ library so students can learn about real patriots who came to this country after seeing the horrors of these communist regimes.”
The three bills that DeSantis signed into law include:
House Bill 5: Civic Education Curriculum: “House Bill 5 requires the Florida Department of Education to create an integrated K-12 civic education curriculum that includes an understanding of citizens’ shared rights and responsibilities under the Constitution and Bill of Rights. It further expands required instruction in high school to include a comparative discussion of political ideologies that conflict with the principles of freedom and democracy essential to the founding principles of the United States, such as communism and totalitarianism. This bill also provides a library of “Portraits in Patriotism” based on personal stories of diverse individuals who demonstrate civic minded qualities, including those who have moved to this country after being persecuted in nations like Cuba and Venezuela.”
Senate Bill 1108: Education: “Senate Bill 1108 requires state college and state university students to take both a civic literacy course and a civic literacy assessment as a graduation requirement, bridging civics education between our high schools and postsecondary institutions. The bill further requires high school students to take a civic literacy assessment that has no high stakes consequences. If a high school student passes the test, that student is exempted from the postsecondary test requirement. The bill also expands the character development curriculum for high school juniors and seniors to include instructions on how to register to vote.”
House Bill 233: Postsecondary Education: “House Bill 233 requires state colleges and universities to conduct annual assessments of the viewpoint diversity and intellectual freedom at their institutions to ensure that Florida’s postsecondary students will be shown diverse ideas and opinions, including those that they may disagree with or find uncomfortable.”