Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday signed legislation combatting Critical Race Theory (CRT), declaring that “we believe in education, not indoctrination.”
“We’re here today, because we believe in education, not indoctrination,” DeSantis said during Friday’s press conference, flanked by Florida officials and parents.
An important tenet of freedom in Florida, DeSantis said, is “freedom from having oppressive ideologies opposed upon you without your consent, whether it be in the classroom or whether it be in the workplace, and we decided to do something about it.”
The bill DeSantis signed on Friday provides what he described as “substantive protections for both students and parents to ensure that the education they’re receiving in Florida is consistent with the standards of the state of Florida.” Those standards do not allow “pernicious ideologies like Critical Race Theory to be taught in our K-12 schools,” the governor said, promising that tax dollars will not be used to teach children to hate the United States.
Every student counts, DeSantis continued, making it clear that the state is not interested in categorizing individuals based on race.
“We are not going to tell some kindergartner that they’re an oppressor based on their race,” he said, adding that they are also not going to teach children that they are oppressed based on their race, either.
He briefly addressed opponents who are lying about the bill, who claim that the DeSantis administration is attempting to stop children from learning history:
It is required in Florida statutes to teach about all segments of American history, where you have to teach about the Holocaust. You must teach about African American history. You teach about the institution and the abolition of slavery. You teach about the failure of the post-Civil War amendments to take hold and how you needed to fight for civil rights.
“We teach all of that because it’s real history and it’s important. But what we will not do is let people distort history to try to serve their current ideological goals,” the governor said, using the New York Times’ dishonest 1619 Project, “where they teach that the American revolution was fought to defend slavery,” as an example.
“When in reality you can read the pamphlets, you can look at the Boston Tea Party. You can see what they were upset about because they told us. They wrote it down and they wrote a Declaration of Independence to fuel their fight for freedom,” he explained, stressing the importance of accuracy and emphasizing that “we cannot allow ideologues to try to distort what has happened in this country’s history.”
“We will absolutely teach all aspects of, of history that are true,” he said, including the contributions of “both women and Hispanics to Florida and to the United States.”
“We will teach about civics, character. We will also have mental health education. This is all very, very important, and we are really on the cutting edge,” he said, making it clear that the state will not allow children to be taught that “members of one race, color, national origin or sex are somehow morally superior.”
“We are not going to allow teach[ing] that a person simply by virtue of his or her race, color, national origin or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive. That’s wrong,” he said.
“We are not going we’re going to make sure a person’s moral character or status as either privilege or oppresses necessarily determined by his or her race, color, national origin or sex. That is not allowed. That is wrong, and we are not going to teach that,” he said:
We’re also not gonna teach that virtues such as merit, excellence, hard work, fairness, neutrality, objectivity and color blindness are somehow racist or sexist. They are not. Everybody can succeed. Everybody works hard. Everybody deserves fairness, and so we’re going to stand by that.
DeSantis added that, “as a contrast to Critical Race Theory, this bill requires the Department of Education in the state of Florida to develop a stories of inspiration curriculum to inspire students with stories from American history that embody the principles of freedom.”
Watch the full presser below:
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