DeSantis signs bill requiring Florida schools to teach civics and ‘evils of communism’

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed a bill that expands civics education in state public schools to include a presentation about the “evils of communism and totalitarian ideologies” that directly conflict with the founding principles of America. Under the legislation, this important lesson plan becomes a requirement of high school government class.

At a presser at a Lee County, Fl., middle school, the all-action GOP governor explained that Florida is uniquely situated for this form of full-spectrum instruction:

“We have a number of people in Florida, particularly southern Florida, who’ve escaped totalitarian regimes, who’ve escaped communist dictatorships, to be able to come to America. We want all students to understand the difference,” he asserted.

“Why would somebody flee across shark-infested water, say leaving from Cuba, to come to southern Florida? Why would somebody leave a place like Vietnam? Why would people leave these countries and risk their life to be able to come here? It’s important that students understand that,” DeSantis added in the context of House Bill 5.

The bill also requires a comprehensive K-12 curriculum that increases understanding of the rights and responsibilities provided by the U.S. Constitution.

Another provision of HB 5 creates a “Portraits in Patriotism” library that will detail the lived experiences of those who came to America to escape repressive communist regimes.

On Twitter, “America’s governor” — who is considered the front-runner for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination if Donald Trump decides against seeking a second term — wrote that “Our students will learn from an integrated civic education curriculum that compares our rights & freedoms to places where they don’t exist like China & North Korea.”

DeSantis’ latest action provides a stark contrast to much of the trendy public school curriculum in play around the country that seems enamored with socialism and often seeks to denigrate the U.S. through far-left indoctrination instead of teaching history/civics in all of its dimensions.

Along those lines, the Florida Board of Education earlier this month banned divisive critical race theory that DeSantis had described as teaching students to hate each other and to hate America.

Joining DeSantis at the press conference about HB 5 was Nicaraguan immigrant Ana Abaunza who, as a teen, fled the Sandinista “Leninist-Marxist regime” and its associated brainwashing.

“I am thankful to be here; I would defend this country with my life if I had to,” Abaunza said.

She underscored the importance of HB 5 in educating young people about freedom and democracy after hearing her granddaughter claim that socialism is not “that bad,” which is presumably a notion that she picked up in the classroom.

Among nearly 50 pieces of legislation of various kinds that he approved this week, DeSantis also signed a pro-free speech bill that requires state colleges and universities to evaluate, on a yearly basis, viewpoint diversity and intellectual freedom on campus.

“It used to be thought that a university campus was a place where you’d be exposed to a lot of different ideas. Unfortunately now, the norm is really these are more intellectually repressive environments. You have orthodoxies that are promoted and other viewpoints are shunned, or even suppressed. We don’t want that in Florida,” Gov. DeSantis said.

Another bill establishes a requirement for a civics literacy assessment process at both the high school and college tiers subject to certain conditions.

A separate bill makes potentially life-saving CPR training a mandatory component in Florida public schools.


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