This will surely cause a massive political fight over the nature of Florida education
In a decision that's certain to send shockwaves throughout the state of Florida, as well as the nation, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has finally gotten his wish to ban Critical Race Theory from the Florida education system. After hours on top of hours of debate during a town hall that was held, the Florida Board of Education unanimously approved the ban on Critical Race Theory.
Governor Ron DeSantis said, in support of the bill, that he doesn't want to have a curriculum that "teaches kids to hate their country."
The Governor sees Critical Race Theory as a divisive theory, one that teaches students at a young age to dissect their classrooms into little groups, labeling other students by their race. This stands in obvious contrast to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, who envisioned a colorblind nation where the color of a person's skin mattered much less than the content of their character.
Those who support Critical Race Theory have done so on the grounds that the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and onward hasn't gone far enough so as to address the deeper systemic issues that racial minorities face. Proponents of Critical Race Theory point to the way minority communities have fallen through the cracks in areas like education, careers, wealth, as well as incarceration status.
The town hall also wasn't without some festivities, as people from the crowd stood up and took turns speaking at the podium. Some speakers were in favor of the ban, while others were vehemently against it.
And that's when one man who spoke out against the ban began a chant. "Allow teachers to teach the truth," the man said loudly into the podium. And then again, "Allow teachers to teach the truth. Allow teachers to teach the truth..." Others chimed in and began participating in a spontaneous protest.
The ban initially stated that it disallowed the teaching of any history that "distorts historical events," noting, that school teachings under the new law "must be factual and objective, and may not suppress or distort significant historical events." Very well.
But later, the banning of Critical Race Theory specifically was added to the curriculum.
According to Encyclopedia Britannica:
Critical race theory (CRT), intellectual movement and loosely organized framework of legal analysis based on the premise that race is not a natural, biologically grounded feature of physically distinct subgroups of human beings but a socially constructed (culturally invented) category that is used to oppress and exploit people of colour.
Critical Race Theory initially began as a legal idea that sought to study and isolate how various policies and laws can end up accidentally being biased against minority groups. The term "structural racism" was forged in the 1960s by Stokley Carmichael as a way to describe things like covertly racist discrimination in housing and other opportunity spheres. Many of those issues have been solved legally, on paper, but persist in our society.
But in the past decade, with implicit bias training, some of which are quite radical, the term Critical Race Theory has grown to encompass a wide array of ideas, some mundane, some extreme.
Thus, the new bill is guaranteed to divide a nation and state already divided on issues of race and how to address them. It's important to note, here, that Critical Race Theory is not synonymous with anti-racism, which is a commitment to address bona fide racism wherever it crops up.
At the core of the more extreme critical race theory is the idea that all discrepancies between racial groups must be explained by racism. This is likely the kind of Critical Race Theory that Mr. DeSantis is pushing back on.
Nonetheless, this is guaranteed to lead to a political fight for years to come, as many think we should improve on our already existing, race-neutral curriculum concerning race and others think we should overturn it altogether and replace it with a more race-focused curriculum.
The big takeaway for us Florida residents is this: the choice is ours, do we want to prioritize race-focused education or race-neutral education?
It seems that Governor DeSantis has chosen the latter option.