Orlando Sentinel | By Richard Tribou | June 22, 2021
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed three education bills championed by the Republican Legislature and governor that they say aim to increase civics understanding among Florida students.
Appearing at a press conference at a Fort Myers middle school on Tuesday, he signed House Bill 5 that directs the state Department of Education to come up with a curriculum that educates students on the evils of communism and totalitarian regimes like Venezuela and Nicaragua.
DeSantis decried how some educators will praise people like Mao Zedong, who helped create communist China and Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara.
“This guy was a total communist thug,” DeSantis said. “We’re going to be pushing back on a lot of the whitewashing that’s been done.”
Also signed were Senate Bill 1108 that aims bridge civics education between high school and secondary schools, and House Bill 233, which aims to require colleges and universities to conduct annual assessments on intellectual freedom.
DeSantis complained current higher education institutions in the United States have become repressive environments in which “other viewpoints are shunned or even suppressed.”
DeSantis also pointed out how he had led a movement recently by the State Board of Education to ban the teaching of critical race theory, which DeSantis has said is too critical of American history because of the ways it address racism. Among things banned by the board would be using The New York Times’ 1619 Project, which puts slavery at the center of the story of how the country was founded. The project faced fierce criticism from former President Donald Trump and some historians.
“We do not want false history like you see in the 1619 project,” DeSantis said.