Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis signed three education bills on Tuesday, including one that will ensure teenagers will be taught about the heinousness of “totalitarian ideologies.”
“It’s crucial to ensure that we teach our students how to be responsible citizens,” DeSantis commented. “They need to have a good working knowledge of American history, American government and the principles that underline our Constitution and Bill of Rights.”
Florida HB 5 will require high schoolers to learn about the “evils of communism and totalitarian ideologies” in their government classes.
“We have a number of people in Florida, particularly southern Florida, who’ve escaped totalitarian regimes, who’ve escaped communist dictatorships to be able to come to America,” the governor remarked.
“We want all students to understand the difference, why would somebody flee across shark-infested waters, say leaving from Cuba to come to southern Florida,” he explained. “Why would somebody leave a place like Vietnam? Why would people leave these countries and risk their life to be able to come here. It’s important students understand that.”
He also signed two bills targeted at the collegiate level, adding a civic literacy course and assessment as a graduation requirement for state school with SB 1008, and ordering the institutions to conduct “intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity” assessments annually with HB 233.
“It used to be thought that a university campus was a place you’d be exposed to a lot of different ideas,” DeSantis recollected. “Unfortunately now, the norm is really that these are more intellectually oppressive environments. You have orthodoxies that are promoted, and other viewpoints are shunned or even suppressed. We don’t want that in Florida.”
“You need to have a true contest of ideas,” he concluded. “Students should not be shielded from ideas and we want robust First Amendment speech on our college and university campuses.”