The Florida Department of Education (DOE) adopted new education standards regarding how topics like Holocaust Education, Civics and Government, Character Education, and Substance Abuse Prevention, will be taught in schools.
Governor DeSantis praised the new standards by saying, “The standards adopted today will ensure that every student has the skills and knowledge necessary to be a great student, a great citizen and a lifelong learner, ready to fulfil the responsibilities of citizenship and healthy living.”
In the press release on Wednesday, the DOE stated that the new standards are set to strengthen Florida’s education standards, which are already “nationally recognized.”
In 2020, the Florida Legislature began its mission to improve Holocaust and antisemitism education with HB 1213 that created a “roadmap” for the DOE to include teacher experts, state and national organizations, the public, and the Commissioner of Education’s Task Force on Holocaust Education.
The release states, “These developmentally appropriate and historically accurate standards support the teaching and learning of Holocaust education in Florida… and help to reduce antisemitism in future generations…designed to assist teachers, school and district leaders with implementation of high quality Holocaust education instruction.”
As far as Civics and Government standards, HB 807 from the 2019 legislative session mandated a public review of the then-current standards of civics and government. The state provided an “online review system” where responses were analyzed by a group made up of Florida teachers, the Florida College System, and “specialized subject area experts.”
“These… standards are clear and concise so students, parents and teachers understand the learning expectations. Students will learn about the principles of the United States Constitution and other founding documents, and attain a well-rounded knowledge base to understand how to become great citizens.”
Regarding Character Education the release states, “these are Florida’s first standards for Character Education,” and they, “provide opportunities for students to learn how character contributes to the overall civic health of a society and understand the importance of resiliency, responsibility and respect.”
The new Substance Abuse standards adds to the already existing substance abuse instruction in schools, but now establishes a clear expectation for teachers and students regarding substance abuse prevention. The standards’ goal is to firmly establish an opportunity to create awareness in students of the dangers of substance abuse while promoting a “drug-free” lifestyle that is consistent throughout Florida schools. “Educators will find support and guidance in the teaching of substance use and abuse education in Florida’s schools and assist them in developing more resilient and healthy students.”
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Casey Owens is a contributing writer for The Florida Capital Star. Follow him on Twitter at @cowensreports. Email tips to [email protected]