NAS Celebrates the Nomination of Reform-Minded Trustees to the New College of Florida Board

National Association of Scholars

The National Association of Scholars (NAS) is delighted with Governor Ron DeSantis’ latest initiative to reform public higher education in Florida. Governor DeSantis has just nominated six education reformers to the Board of Trustees of the New College of Florida. The nominees include particular friends of NAS such as Mark Bauerlein, Charles Kesler, Chris Rufo, and Matthew Spalding, whose friendship has been evidenced by actions such as signing their support for the Civics Alliance and for American Birthright: The Civics Alliance’s Model K-12 Social Studies Standards. More importantly, all of these new appointees are friends of higher education. We expect they will do excellent work at the New College to depoliticize higher education, reorient it around Western Civilization, and ensure that it has the highest standards and serves all the educational needs of Florida’s citizens.

Concretely we hope the Board will follow through on Christopher Rufo’s announced goal to eliminate “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI) and replace it with “equality, merit, and colorblindness.” DEI is the coffin-nail in the politicization of America’s universities; universities committed to DEI cannot seek truth, are not free, and will not educate. America can have DEI or it can have education; it can’t have both.

We urge the Florida Senate to confirm these nominations as soon as possible. We urge the Board to act thoroughly and swiftly to reform the New College of Florida. And, above all, we urge the Board to take notes on what they do, and to produce an annual report on what precisely they have done. Governor DeSantis and the Florida legislature should have this report—but so also should other education reformers throughout the nation. We need a thousand such Boards, and they will do their work more effectively if they have a guide for how to act.

We realize that political pragmatism suggests that not every aspect of how the Board proceeds should be written down. But much can be and should be. Florida can be a model of higher education reform for the nation—but for that to happen, the rest of the nation needs to know exactly what is being done in Florida. We strongly urge the Board to communicate the lessons they learn to their fellow reformers.

We also urge the creation of a national list of fellow reformers who can serve on Boards of Trustees around the nation. We need 600 reforming Board members, and then we need 60,000—enough for every public institution of higher education in the country. American higher education is as short of good Board members as it is of professors—and that absence may hurt it even more.

Indeed, the reform of higher education needs to aim at producing more reform-minded Board members—and reform-minded members of state boards, Chancellors of Education, university presidents, and university deans. We need more Bauerleins and Keslers, more Rufos and Spaldings. They may blush to say that themselves, but we have no hesitation in saying so.

Governor DeSantis is not the only reform-minded governor in America. There are Abbots and Noems and Youngkins as well. We urge them to look at what Governor DeSantis has done here, to choose their own education reformers to be Board members—and to remember that higher education reform must include the creation of a self-sustaining body of reformist education administrators.

All this is for the future. For now, we are delighted with Governor DeSantis’ nomination of these new Board members. There is no more important mission in America than the reform of our education system. We wish the new Board nominees success.

Image: Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain

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