DeSantis takes aim at CRT training in schools and corporate AmericaDecember 15, 2021
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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis predicts a red wave will continue growing through the 2022 midterms. He is joined by Fiona Lashells, a second-grade student in Florida who was suspended for not wearing a mask.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is introducing legislation Wednesday banning critical race theory in classrooms and in corporate settings, such as employee trainings, through a piece of legislation coined the “Stop WOKE Act.”
The Florida Department of Education previously enacted a rule to prevent CRT-inspired content in the state’s K-12 schools. DeSantis has emphatically condemned critical race theory (CRT) — a framework that involves deconstructing aspects of society to discover systemic racism beneath the surface.
“Florida’s civics curriculum will incorporate foundational concepts with the best materials and it will expressly exclude unsanctioned narratives like critical race theory and other unsubstantiated theories,” DeSantis said in March.
“Let me be clear: There is no room in our classrooms for things like critical race theory,” he continued. “Teaching kids to hate their country and to hate each other is not worth one red cent of taxpayer money.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to the media about the cruise industry during a press conference at PortMiami on April 8, 2021, in Miami, Florida.
(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Yet the governor’s bill expands the effort beyond education.
“Now the progressive activists’ CRT agenda is not only in education, but also in corporate boardrooms and employee trainings at some of America’s most powerful corporations,” the governor’s office explained in a news release. “Workers are subjected to trainings pushing the falsehoods that America is a ‘white supremacist’ country, and that white Americans are ‘raised to be racist’ from early childhood. These divisive narratives and indoctrination programs create a hostile environment in violation of our laws and principles.”
The Stop Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees Act (Stop W.O.K.E. Act) will go “on the offense against both corporate wokeness and critical race theory in our schools,” according to the release.
The legislation aims to protect employees by deeming “critical race theory training to be an unlawful employment practice. The proposed legislation would make clear that corporations and public sector employers violate the Florida Civil Rights Act when they subject their employees to training that espouses race or sex stereotyping or scapegoating including critical race theory.”
Amy Carney speaks on behalf of parents during a protest against critical race theory being taught at Scottsdale Unified School District before a digital school board meeting at Coronado High School in Scottsdale, Arizona, on May 24, 2021.
The Stop WOKE Act also aims to protect teachers and school staff by declaring CRT training “to be a discriminatory practice in education,” from kindergarten through college and university levels. The bill will require districts and schools to “adhere to professional development frameworks consistent with Florida’s lawful and publicly adopted state standards.”
The bill also aims to protect students and families by codifying the State Board of Education’s actions into state law.
According to the news release, the legislation will give employees a private cause of action against discrimination in the workplace, give parents and students a private cause of action against “indoctrinating practices” in education, protect teachers who are “pushing back against unlawful mandates from their elected district leadership,” and gives the State Board of Education enforcement authority in K-12 settings.
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Parents across the country have risen in protest against CRT-themed lessons and trainings for teachers. While many school districts insist that they do not teach CRT to students – defining CRT as a college-level or law school class – an increasing number of them have adopted notions of “White privilege” and “institutional racism” tracing back to CRT, and others have hired notorious “anti-racism” advocates like Nikole Hannah-Jones and Ibram X. Kendi to speak to teachers.
In the wake of the George Floyd shooting in June 2020, corporations have also adopted CRT trainings for employees in the name of “racial equity.”
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