. . . and Republicans are establishing a model that will create a truly ignorant generation.
Jeb Bush started the descent into the swamp of ignorance. Now the torch is carried by Ron DeSantis, who wants to arm teachers, expand the state’s voucher programs to include middle-class families with income up to $100,000 a year, reduce the power of local school boards so they can’t block new charter schools, and undercut public schools.
Pay attention, because what happens in Florida usually shows up in the 30 or so other states under GOP control. Step one for DeSantis was to stock the State Supreme Court with three conservative judges. DeSantis also charged the Board of Education with appointing Richard Corcoran as State Commissioner of Education. Corcoran was the architect of the “school choice” expansions.
The DeSantis voucher became SB 7070/HB 7075, the radical Family Empowerment Scholarship Program. Funded from property taxes, this is a dangerous co-mingling of the already thin dollars designated for Florida’s district public schools. These vouchers go to unregulated private schools that maintain their right to discriminate against certain students, charge more than the voucher for tuition, teach extreme curricula, and are not required to ensure student safety or hire certified teachers. This dramatic expansion of private religious school vouchers, once meant for low-income recipients, is morphing into a middle-class entitlement program for families of 4 making close to $100,000 a year.
DeSantis wants to double down on the awful policy of providing bonuses, instead of raises for teachers. FL teacher pay ranks 45th in the nation.
DeSantis supporter, Rep. Kim Daniels continues to insert religion into public schools this session by sponsoring HB 195, model legislation from the Christian Nationalist Project Blitz. Daniels, a Democrat, passed a 2018 law requiring “In God We Trust” to be displayed in public schools. This year Daniels is pushing Blitz legislation requiring public high schools to offer a religion class that teaches only Christianity.”
Another bill allows schools to withdraw any book that is “morally offensive.” Expect to see demands to remove a lot of “morally offensive” classics by authors such as John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, Harper Lee, and Mark Twain.
Another bill, HB 330 by a sponsor of FL’s Stand Your Ground law, seeks to revise curriculum standards and force public schools to teach “science” theories such as creationism and alternate views to subjects such as climate change.”
All they need is one solidly ignorant generation and Fascism will win.