NAS Applauds Governor DeSantis for His Veto of S.B. 146

John D. Sailer

The National Association of Scholars commends Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for vetoing S.B. 146, a bill which would covertly introduce partisan “action civics” into Florida’s civics curriculum. DeSantis’s foresight is all the more laudable because the bill received unanimous support from the Florida Legislature. It appeared to be a moment for bipartisan cooperation—this nonpartisan veneer, however, would have proven ironic. Action civics injects partisanship directly into K-12 education.

The National Association of Scholars has long sounded the alarm about action civics. Often promoted under the guise of “community engagement” and “service learning,” action civics throws students directly into the political fray, requiring them to choose a political issue and publicly advocate for a “solution.” Such an approach rewards the most dogmatic students and teachers, paving the way for ideological peer pressure and self censorship. These projects, moreover, invariably embrace the political priorities of the left.

Governor DeSentis was right to note in his veto letter that the bill would promote the “preferred orthodoxy” of unaccountable organizations. As is often the case, S.B. 146 funds action civics in a roundabout manner, outsourcing civics education to the YMCA Youth and Government program and the Center for Civic Engagement at the University of South Florida. YMCA Youth and Government touts its “Changemaker Institute,” a program which requires students to choose from a short list of issues to “address.” That list includes “Climate Action & Sustainability,” “Gender Equity & LGBTQ Rights,” and “Racial Equity & Justice.” Under the new law, this progressive activism would be funded by the state.

Through his veto, Governor DeSantis thwarted a common tactic of action civics advocates. Advocates often promote activist civics by way of nonprofits, calling for nonprofit partnerships with school districts and education departments. These nonprofits effectively supplant the role of state and local authorities, forcing their radical curriculum from above. This is why our model legislation, the Partisanship Out of Civics Act, prevents partnership with organizations that lobby for political causes, as well as private funding for curriculum development, curricular materials, and teacher training. Governor DeSantis just took a stand against this sort of encroachment into K-12 education, and we would encourage him to continue his good work and push for Florida’s own Partisanship Out of Civics Act.

Disguised as a bipartisan victory, S.B. 146 promoted partisanship in schools. By vetoing the bill, Governor DeSantis showed his vigilance and commitment to a true civics education. To that we say: Bravo, Governor!

John Sailer is a research associate at the National Association of Scholars.

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

  • Share

Most Commented

May 18, 2023


Letter: In Defense of Professor Scott Gerber

The Ohio Northern University’s senior administrators have treated Professor Scott Gerber appallingly by removing him from campus without due cause—a clear abuse of......

May 9, 2023


More Title IX Mischief

The Biden Education Department's Office for Civil Rights proposes a new rule on athletic eligibility favoring sexual confusion over female athletes....

May 23, 2023


Academic Freedom Isn’t Free

If higher education cannot hold itself to its founding principles, then we must....

Most Read

April 7, 2023


Congress Asks Dept of Education to Enforce Foreign Gift Disclosure Laws

The National Association of Scholars strongly endorses the Representatives' work to open the books on higher education's concealed dealings with the foreign despots who see......

May 15, 2015


Where Did We Get the Idea That Only White People Can Be Racist?

A look at the double standard that has arisen regarding racism, illustrated recently by the reaction to a black professor's biased comments on Twitter....

April 14, 2023


Faculty Fight for Academic Freedom at Harvard

While many faculty quietly endorse views they privately disagree with, Harvard faculty band together to resist administrative overreach, overzealous students, and protect academic freedom....