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Horowitz: Breaking the education cartel in Florida
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Horowitz: Breaking the education cartel in Florida

The left understands that the way to mold civilization is to control education. Until Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ plethora of education reforms, red states have, at best, minimized the damage from the left-wing monopoly over curricula in state schools and colleges but have failed to offer alternatives. After providing alternative options for accreditation in Florida, DeSantis and his administration have now approved a classical alternative to the SAT, which for years has been the lynchpin of college admissions and, by extension, success in the workplace.

Anyone who takes standardized tests from the College Board, such as the SAT, would appreciate the criticism that the language arts portions appear as if they were written by robots. Also, these passages are increasingly saturated with a political agenda subtly designed to corrupt the minds of the generation coming of age. Earlier this year, DeSantis signed a bill requiring Florida’s state-funded college scholarship program to accept the Classic Learning Test scores alongside the SAT for eligibility standards. Last week, the State University System of Florida’s Board of Governors voted nearly unanimously to accept the CLT, which focuses more on classical Western civilization education, for admission to any of the 12 state campuses.

CLT founder Jeremy Tate came to realize the importance of a new admissions test when he saw how much the SAT influenced high school curricula, which often oriented daily instruction toward the objectives of the all-important test.

“Looking through the textbook,” Tate wrote in his mission statement letter, “I flipped through page after page of fragmented passages, meaningless activities, and bland stories that had no chance of rousing these kids from their indifference.”

As such, the CLT, while containing similar math and English portions for its admissions test, bases the reading comprehension parts on texts from classical literature and historical texts without any political agenda whatsoever. Most SAT literary passages, on the other hand, sound like they were created by ChatGPT, albeit with a deliberate and quite sinister political and social agenda.

It’s this subtle but monumental difference that will help change the way our civilization thinks and the sort of people our children grow up to become.

At present, only a small percentage of private colleges — mainly Christian schools — accept the CLT for admission. Florida is the first state to have its public universities embrace the CLT as an equal alternative to the SAT.

Florida’s new embrace of the CLT is part of a broader effort by DeSantis to remake the Sunshine State’s public education system from top to bottom. Unlike other Republican governors, DeSantis doesn’t merely criticize the left-wing agenda in schools. He is taking action. He is putting into place the policies and personnel needed to reclaim our children’s education from the clutches of the cultural Marxists. He has a clear vision that red-state public education should reflect the values of the people of the state, not those of California and Washington. In other red states, the public schools are indistinguishable from what you would see in blue states.

Leftist agitation groups are already apoplectic about Florida’s move — and (from their perspective) understandably so. “This decision shows that DeSantis doesn’t care about research, education, science or students,” said Akil Bello, senior director of advocacy at the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, in an interview with Inside Higher Ed. “There’s a reason this test is usually used at Bible colleges and seminaries: the point is to be able to identify those who agree with your ideology.”

Yes, there is a reason this test has only been embraced by those who actually harbor what used to be universal values shared by people of all political persuasions in this country. Beware whenever the education establishment says “follow the science” and research. It tends to mean “follow the dogma.”

DeSantis is willing and able to remake state institutions with personnel who share the values and ideals upon which he campaigned. In most every other red state, the departments of education and health are still promoting the EducationTM and the ScienceTM that blue states so eagerly propagate. DeSantis, on the other hand, has turned these bureaucracies into forces for good.

Just last week, the Florida surgeon general published guidance recommending against the COVID shots and requiring doctors to offer informed consent about the risks. DeSantis has thus found like-minded personnel who not only refrain from pushing bad policies but who will actually provide useful information, such as recommending healthy living, better diets, and more vitamin D.

Likewise, the Florida Department of Education and members of state university boards are not only pushing back against critical race theory and gender bending but are offering a blueprint for what a proper education should look like. This is why DeSantis is also the first governor to fight the accreditation monopoly that has served historically as a protection racket for cultural Marxist curricula.

Sticking the landing on policy outcomes, draining the cartel swamps, and filling them with the few smart and principled officials available in public policy circles have formed the core of the DeSantis doctrine. Nowhere is this more important or evident than in shaping the minds of the next generation.

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