Florida has once again evidenced Gov. Ron DeSantis' November claim that the state "is where woke goes to die."
Students will not be subjected to textbooks pushing leftist propaganda and revisionist histories. Instead, per the suggestion of Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr., kids will be provided with textbooks that "focus on historical facts" that are "free from inaccuracies or ideological rhetoric."
The Florida Department of Education announced Tuesday that 66 out of the 101 instructional materials submitted for inclusion in the state's social studies curriculum for every grade level were approved.
While the majority of materials were ultimately accepted, only 19% of materials were initially approved "due to inaccurate material, errors and other information that was not aligned with Florida Law." However, the Education Department has worked with publishers to get the materials up to Florida's standards.
Sticking to the facts
The state has provided several examples of what didn't make the cut.
One submission provided guidance on how to talk to young children about the national anthem, suggesting, "You can use this as an opportunity to talk about why some citizens are choosing to 'Take a Knee' to protest police brutality and racism."
This suggestion was stricken from the accepted material.
Another textbook, this time targeting grades 6-8, attempted to hype socialism — an ideology linked to most of the 20th century's totalitarian regimes and mass murders.
The text said that socialism "keeps things nice and even and without unnecessary waste. These societies may promote greater equality among people while still providing a fully functioning government-supervised economy."
Rather than include this advertisement for the discredited ideology, the revised textbook strikes a historically accurate distinction between planned and mixed economies, noting some of the disincentives for industriousness and efficiency intrinsic to the former.
In a grade 6-8 text that delves into the positive impacts of the Judeo-Christian tradition on society, leftist rhetoric has been dropped in favor of more neutral terms in the utilitarian accounting.
Florida also refused to subject students to sanitized, revisionist histories about BLM radicals.
A grade 9-12 text was flagged because it entertained the leftist fallacy that brutal communist regimes such as those found in the Soviet Union, Cuba, and China were not representative of real communism.
"As for a true communist economy, there are none in the world today, and there have never been any in the past," said the text. "Communism still remains a theoretical ideal in the minds of many revolutionaries, even though in practice it has never been reached."
DeSantis' education department saw to it that the text now reads, "In theory, labor in a communist system is organized to benefit the whole community, and everyone consumes according to his or her needs. In practice, wealth in communist systems flows to a tiny elite. ... Communism as imagined by Marx remains a theoretical ideal in the minds of many revolutionaries, but in practice it has failed."
Awake, not woke
"Thanks to Governor DeSantis’ and the state’s consistent adherence to high quality, rigorous and factual content, Florida continually earns praise as a leader in education, including the recent number one ranking by U.S. News & World Report," Diaz said in a statement.
"To uphold our exceptional standards, we must ensure our students and teachers have the highest quality materials available – materials that focus on historical facts and are free from inaccuracies or ideological rhetoric," Diaz added.
This initiative is keeping with DeSantis' vow in April 2022: "In Florida, we will not let the far-left woke agenda take over our schools and workplaces. There is no place for indoctrination or discrimination in Florida."
The New York Times reported that these efforts may prove consequential in states besides Florida.
Extra to sparing 3 million Florida public school students from leftist talking points, students in Florida, Texas, and California may also benefit, since the publishers who worked with the DeSantis administration to achieve higher standards with their texts also cater to these states.
Republican efforts to take politics out of education are not without their critics.
The editorial boards for the Orlando Sentinel and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel decried the removal of leftist propaganda from the curriculum in a Wednesday op-ed, writing, "It's better to be 'woke.'"
The editorial collective claimed that DeSantis' objectives were to "cater to bigoted and resentful white voters"; "breed a generation of future voters who will have learned nothing about racism's history or continuing consequences"; and "desensitize the nation's courts to systemic economic and political injustices."
After comparing the elimination of leftist agitprop from Florida grade school textbooks to efforts by apologists for the former Confederacy to paint a rosy picture of slavery, the editors suggested that it's up to the voters — who re-elected DeSantis in a landslide — to determine whether or not eliminating woke content should continue.
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