TALLAHASSEE – A proposed rule that will be evaluated by the State Board of Education aims to control how history is taught in Florida classrooms and not allow teachers to “brainwash” students, in the part of what state education commissioner Richard Corcoran has called a “constant, vigilant struggle.”
The proposed rule is intended to put strict guidelines on the teaching of US history.
“Instructions on the required subjects must be factual and objective and cannot suppress or distort significant historical events, such as the Holocaust, and cannot define American history as anything other than the creation of a new nation. based largely on the universal principles set out in the Declaration of Independence, âthe state education ministry’s proposal said.
It would also require that any class discussion be “appropriate to the age and maturity level of the students,” and teachers who facilitate the discussions would not be able to “share their personal views or attempt to indoctrinate or to persuade students to adopt a particular point of view. “which is incompatible with state standards.
The Board of Education will consider the proposal at its June 10 meeting at Florida State College in Jacksonville.
Corcoran touted the proposal in a recent address to Hillsdale College, a private college in Michigan that regularly invites conservative speakers.
âYou have to monitor them on a daily basis. That’s 185,000 teachers in a classroom with 18-25 children, âCorcoran told the crowd gathered at theâ Education is Freedom âevent.
The Florida Education Association, the state’s largest teachers’ union, opposes the proposed rule.
âFlorida is not going to endow students with critical thinkers by hiding facts. Students deserve the best education possible and the truest, most inclusive picture of their world and our shared history, âunion president Andrew Spar said on Wednesday.
Spar also suggested that other aspects of U.S. history are not addressed in the proposal.
“If the goal is to give children a good education, the rule could be changed to say in part:” The instruction on the required subjects must be factual and objective, and must not suppress or distort important historical events, such as the Holocaust, slavery, civil war, reconstruction and Jim Crow. ‘ Those who don’t learn history are meant to repeat it, âSpar said in the statement.
During his speech at Hillsdale College, Corcoran responded to a question from an audience member about how he intends to approach progressive ideas in textbooks and teaching materials. Part of Corcoran’s response indicates that he expects the proposed rule to be adopted.
âWe’ll be passing a rule this month that says, for the 185,000 teachers (in Florida), you can’t indoctrinate students with stuff that isn’t based on our standards, the new BEST standards,â Corcoran said. , referring to the standards adopted by the State during his tenure.
The âBenchmarks for Excellent Student Thinkingâ standards were adopted after Governor Ron DeSantis issued an executive order in January 2019 to remove the remnants of politically unpopular âCommon Coreâ standards.
Speaking in Hillsdale, Corcoran described the new standards as part of the âfightâ to ensure that progressive ideas are not pushed into the classroom.
âWe rewrote all of our standards, we did all of that, and then we adopted a book,â Corcoran told the crowd. âAnd the publishers are just infested with liberals. And so we should tell them in our offer specifications, we’re not going to endorse your offer unlessâ¦ a certain percentage of our reading list needs to be in your text.
Corcoran’s comments and the proposed rule came in the midst of a push by DeSantis to eliminate what’s known as Critical Race Theory from classrooms. Critical Race Theory is based on the premise that racism is ingrained in American society and institutions.
The governor criticized critical race theory in a media appearance in March, while also rolling out a âcivic educationâ proposal.
âIt’s basically about teaching children to hate our country and to hate each other based on their race. He puts race as the most important thing. I want the content of the character to be the most important thing, âDeSantis told reporters.
In Hillsdale, Corcoran also said he was working to remove critical race theory from educational material.
âThey hide it inâ¦ socio-emotional learning. So it’s not about critical race theory, but you could definitely have a teacher who teaches critical race theory, âCorcoran said.