On Thursday, The Florida Board of Education approved a rule that essentially prohibits the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in schools across the state. Though the rule does not explicitly mention the term “critical race theory,” it requires that the teaching of American history be “factual” and based “on universal principles stated in the Declaration of Independence."
“Instruction on the required topics must be factual and objective and may not suppress or distort significant historical events, such as the Holocaust, and may not define American history as something other than the creation of a new nation based largely on universal principles stated in the Declaration of Independence.”
After nearly 30 speakers lobbied the board in favor of the motion, the meeting was interrupted by “Allow teachers to tell the truth!” chant from pro-CRT activists in the audience. It reconvened several minutes later, and the members passed the rule in a unanimous vote.
The approval of this motion comes three months after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) spoke out against the teaching of CRT in his state’s schools. At a press conference on March 17, DeSantis said that “Teaching kids to hate their country and to hate each other is not worth one red cent of taxpayer money.”
Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) says initiative to expand civics education in schools will “expressly exclude unsanctioned narratives like critical race theory.”— The Recount (@therecount) March 17, 2021
He says: “Teaching kids to hate their country and to hate each other is not worth one red cent of taxpayer money.” pic.twitter.com/gU2d33MHLN
With the board’s approval, Florida becomes the fifth state — following Idaho, Iowa, Oklahoma, and Tennessee — to bar the teaching of CRT from its public schools. 21 other states have already introduced some form of anti-CRT legislation, with more poised to follow.
Former President Donald Trump has also fought against the spread of CRT. Last September, Trump ordered the suspension of taxpayer dollars to fund “un-American propaganda diversity training sessions” that include subjective concepts like racial stereotyping and “White privilege.”
Opposition for CRT — a set of ideas first proposed by the late Harvard Law professor Derrick Bell — has been mounting since August 2019, when The New York Times published its “1619 Project.” Spearheaded by Nikole Hannah-Jones, the 1619 Project asserts that the founding of the United States was centered around the institution of slavery, and that the colonists fought the British not for independence from tyranny, but the independence to continue to own slaves.
But as political moderates and even left-leaning historians have pointed out, this is false. Great Britain did not end its own slave trade until 1807, and it did not formally abolish slavery until 1833, a full 50 years after the Treaty of Paris ended the American Revolution.
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