Florida State Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-District 24) filed a civics education bill this week for the 2022 legislative session. The bill is similar to a bill he previously filed during 2021’s session. The filed bill will seek to expand civics-education which would instruct high school students on how to engage as an educated citizen.
Students will be able to seek internships with governmental agencies or entities and would establish a “Citizen Scholar Program” at the University of South Florida’s St. Petersburg campus.
Civics education has been a topic regularly considered by Florida’s Republicans in recent years. However, Brandes’ similarly proposed legislation earlier this year was vetoed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
“The proposed bill seeks to further so-called ‘action civics’ but does so in a way that risks promoting the preferred orthodoxy of two particular institutions,” DeSantis said. “For these reasons, I withhold my approval of SB 146 and do hereby veto the same.”
Brandes’ new legislation addressed the “action civics” issue by saying that engaging “in protest civics may not count toward credit under the Citizen Scholar Program.”
DeSantis did, however, sign three other civics education-related bills in June. One of the bills added new civics requirements for K-12 students, and the other two bills addressed civics in Florida’s colleges and universities.
At the time, DeSantis said our education system needs to reprioritize instructing Florida’s students in American civic values and the rights codified in the U.S. Constitution.
“The sad reality is that only two in five Americans can correctly name the three branches of government, and more than a third of Americans cannot name any of the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment,” DeSantis said. “It is abundantly clear that we need to do a much better job of educating our students in civics to prepare them for the rest of their lives.”
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