On Thursday, Governor Ron DeSantis launched an education agenda focused on influencing local school board races in the 2022 election cycle.
Titled “The DeSantis Education Agenda: Putting Students First, Protecting Parents’ Rights,” the policies focus on issues related to student success, parental rights and curriculum transparency.
According to the website, “The DeSantis Education Agenda is a student-first, parent-centered initiative focused on setting Florida’s children up for success, ensuring parental rights in education, and combating the woke agenda from infiltrating public schools … .This statewide agenda is for school board candidates and school board members who are committed to advancing these priorities at the local school board level.”
In a statement provided to The Federalist, DeSantis championed the launch of the agenda, saying that “Florida has delivered the most student-focused, parent-centered education agenda in the nation” at a time when “curriculum in states around the country are being used as opportunities to indoctrinate innocent children.”
“Our school board members are on the front lines of what happens in our education system. In Florida, we value student success, parental rights, and curriculum transparency, and we need school board members who do the same,” he said. “We need strong school boards who will fight for these values and put students first.”
The agenda is a continuation of actions taken by DeSantis in the K-12 education sphere related to parental rights and curriculum transparency. Previous actions include the Parental Rights in Education Bill, which addressed parents’ rights related to mental health services provided at schools and a prohibition of instruction that is not age appropriate.
In addition, DeSantis signed a bill in March “which requires school districts to be transparent in the selection of instructional materials, including library and reading materials” and “aims to preserve the rights of parents to make decisions about what materials their children are exposed to in school.”
The bill also imposed term limits for school board members.
“I’m a big believer in term limits. But you don’t always have to wait for that,” DeSantis said. “You can throw the bums out in the election.”
During the summer of 2021, DeSantis signaled that he would be involved in school board races during a cable television interview with Dan Bongino on Fox News. DeSantis vowed to turn his “political apparatus” against Republican school board candidates who oppose his educational reforms.
“We’re not going to support any Republican candidate for school board who supports Critical Race Theory in all 67 counties or supports mandatory masking of school children,” DeSantis said.
– – –
Steve Stewart is a senior contributor at The Florida Capital Star.
Photo “Ron DeSantis” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.