Florida Man Strikes Blow for Civics Reform

David Randall

Resolute is the Civics Alliance’s newsletter, informing you about the most urgent issues in civics education. Above all, Resolute will provide information about federal and state legislation that seeks to impose action civics, or to preserve traditional civics.

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Florida is the center of American education reform. Scarcely a week goes by without Governor Ron DeSantis announcing a new education initiative. We hope his work will spread to the other 49 states, and as soon as possible. Now, what’s happening lately …

Florida Man Strikes Blow for Civics Reform

Governor DeSantis started his January civics education work by rejecting the College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP) African American Studies course. The DeSantis administration determined that the proposed course violated the STOP W.O.K.E. Act. Noted education reformer Stanley Kurtz has provided extensive evidence to justify that determination.

Most of the readings in the latter section of APAAS reject colorblindness in some fashion or other. The course even assigns writings by Kimberlé Crenshaw and Patricia Hill Collins, by any definition pillars of critical race theory. True, these readings focus on Crenshaw’s and Collins’s writings on intersectionality. Yet both Collins and Crenshaw view intersectionality through the prism of CRT [Critical Race Theory].

Florida was correct to reject the AP African American Studies course. Every state in the union should follow suit. And, since the College Board has been politicizing ever-wider amounts of its courses, state and federal policymakers need to follow up by removing the College Board from its effective monopoly on the advanced courses that allow students to take the equivalent of introductory college coursework for cheap or free.

Florida Man Strikes Another Blow for Civics Reform

Governor DeSantis finished his January civics education work by announcing that he would remove diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) bureaucracies and policies from Florida’s public universities. In the same announcement, he announced that he would support the expansion of three reform-minded civics institutes at Florida’s public universities: the Hamilton Center at the University of Florida, the Adam Smith Center at Florida International University, and the Florida Institute of Politics at Florida State University. Both of these initiatives are extraordinarily important, and citizens and policymakers throughout the country should be working to imitate them in their own states.

Virginia Legislators Worried About Civics Alliance

Twelve Virginia legislators have co-sponsored a bill that seeks to require the Virginia Board of Education (VBOE) to provide “a list of each individual and organization that has been consulted regarding the revision of such Standards of Learning and the amount paid by any state agency or entity for any such consultation.” This appears to be an attempt to dig for dirt, because the Civics Alliance and other organizations have spoken well of the draft Virginia social studies standards. Nobody at the VBOE paid us, and nobody at the VBOE (shucks) asked for our advice on how to improve social studies—we’re delighted that it has chosen to follow some of our spontaneously offered advice. We realize that the bill is intended to embarrass the Youngkin administration, but it doesn’t seem objectionable as a way of extending transparency in government. We may even adopt this bill as a model for legislation in other states. It would be interesting to find out this information in places like Illinois or Rhode Island.

Arizona Report on Diversity Statements

The Goldwater Institute has published a good new report: The New Loyalty Oaths: How Arizona’s Public Universities Compel Job Applicants to Endorse Progressive Politics. Policy institutes in every state should be working on similar reports, to make clear to citizens and policymakers just how pervasive and damaging such loyalty oaths have become. Real policy reform depends upon the public becoming aware of the scale of the problem.

New Civics Legislation

There’s a flood of new civics-related legislation in the different states, as the state legislatures come back into session. We’re posting every bill we can trace, good or bad, in our Civics Bill Tracker. Check it out, to see what’s happening in your state!

Monthly American Birthright Zoom Meeting

The Civics Alliance will have its monthly Zoom session devoted to social studies standards reform on Monday, Februry 6, at 2:00 PM Eastern Time. Please email [email protected] if you would like to join these monthly Zoom meetings.

Social Studies Standards Revision Schedule

2023/Current: Alaska, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky (partial), Maine, Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Wyoming

2024: Alabama, Arizona, Montana, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Wisconsin

2025: Kentucky, Texas

2026: Colorado, Maryland, North Dakota, South Carolina

2027: Hawaii, Kansas

2029: Louisiana

2031: Illinois

No Revision Currently Scheduled: Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri (but could change), New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Washington

Waiting Confirmation: District of Columbia (current process), North Carolina (2021)

Please email David Randall ([email protected]) if you are interested in further information about your state’s social studies revision process, and what you can do to participate.

Continuing Priorities: Federal Legislation

At the federal level, the Civics Secures Democracy Act threatens to impose action civics nationwide.

Public Action

We encourage Civics Alliance members to inform the public and policymakers about the stakes and consequences of action civics bills.

David Randall is Executive Director of the Civics Alliance and Director of Research at the National Association of Scholars.

Image: Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia CommonsCreative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

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