Preparing the next generation of public servants
On July 18, Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis announced a $6.5 million investment that will fund Civics Academies at three Florida colleges - Polk State College, Broward College, and Florida State College at Jacksonville.
The money will be used by the colleges for developing a program of education for students who are interested in a career in public service, in local or state government. The Civics Academies will cater to the needs of students from grade 9 upwards, preparing them for future careers in public service while teaching them about the merits of public trust, the running of an efficient government, as well as embedding teaching of the core values of Florida and the United States.
Commenting on the allocation of money, Governor DeSantis had this to say:
“This first-of-its-kind program will teach our future leaders foundational American values as they prepare for careers in public service.”
It's expected that around 1000 students will be able to join the Civics Academies from the start of the 2023 academic year.
More investment in education
This announcement is the latest in a series that have directed millions of dollars towards education in the state of Florida in this financial year.
Some of the state's recent legislative changes that affect or involve schools have attracted contention and criticism - such as the 'Stop WOKE' act which restricts teaching of critical race theory, and the Parental Rights in Education Bill (known by its critics as the 'Don't Say Gay' bill).
On July 15 the governor also attracted a certain amount of criticism for attending a conference arranged by the conservative group 'Moms for Liberty'. As a keynote speaker, Governor DeSantis stated that he believes that Florida's public schools need more conservative school boards to prevent indoctrination of the state's kids.
However, there have also been announcements like the one made by Governor DeSantis on July 18 that are unanimously welcomed, and show that education is receiving a lot of investment that will benefit the state in future both through creating more options for students in education, and creating new jobs.
Better education, more jobs
Earlier this month, Governor DeSantis announced a similar, larger investment in education - $15 million to fund training and education related to cybersecurity from within the state's $109.9 billion 'Freedom First' budget.
It's expected that the money will contribute to the education of up to 27,000 students in Florida in the coming years, preparing many of them for a highly-paid career working in cybersecurity. According to - talent.com, entry-level positions in cybersecurity are paid $89,256 and the average salary for cybersecurity professionals is $117,118 per year.
These combined investments seem to demonstrate that while some will disagree with the governor's intervention in what can be taught in classrooms, there is definitely a strong culture of investing in Florida's education system and in the creation of future jobs.
Would you be interested in a career in public service? Would you have benefitted from attending a 'Civics Academy' if these had existed in the past? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.