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 fight.” “
The proposed rule is intended to put strict guidelines on the teaching of US history.
“Instruction 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 forth in the Declaration of Independence, ”the State Department of Education’s proposal said.
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It would also require that any classroom discussion be “appropriate for the age and maturity level of the students”, and teachers who facilitate the discussions would not be able to “share their personal opinions or attempt to indoctrinate or persuade students of 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 during a recent lecture at Hillsdale College, a private college in Michigan that regularly invites conservative speakers.
“You have to check them daily. That’s 185,000 teachers in a classroom with 18-25 children, ”Corcoran told the crowd gathered at the event, titled“ Education is freedom ”.
The Florida Education Association, the state’s largest teachers’ union, opposes the proposed rule.
“Florida is not going to equip students with critical thinkers by hiding facts. Students deserve the best possible education we can offer them and the truest and most inclusive picture of their world and our shared history, ”union 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 cannot suppress or distort important historical events, such as the Holocaust, civil war slavery, reconstruction and Jim Crow. Those who don’t learn history are doomed to repeat it, ”Spar said in the statement.
During his speech at Hillsdale College, Corcoran responded to a question from an audience member about how he intended to deal with progressive ideas in textbooks and teaching materials. Part of Corcoran’s response indicated that he expects the proposed rule to be adopted.
“We’re passing a rule next month that for the 185,000 teachers (in Florida) you can’t indoctrinate students with things that aren’t based on our standards, the new BEST standards,” Corcoran said, referring to the standards adopted by the State during his tenure.
The “Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking” standards were adopted after Governor Ron DeSantis issued an executive order in January 2019 to remove remnants of politically unpopular “Common Core” standards.
Speaking in Hillsdale, Corcoran characterized the new standards as part of the “struggle” to ensure that progressive ideas are not pushed into the classroom.
“We rewrote all of our standards, we did all of that, and then we go through the adoption of a book,” Corcoran told the crowd. “And the publishers are just infested with liberals. So we’ll have to tell them in our auction specs that we won’t approve your auction unless… a certain percentage of our playlist needs to be in your text. “
Corcoran’s comments and the proposed rule came amid 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 March media appearance, while also rolling out a “good citizenship” proposition.
“It’s basically about teaching children to hate our country and to hate themselves based on their race. This makes the breed the most important thing. I want the content of the character to be the most important thing, ”DeSantis told reporters.
At Hillsdale, Corcoran also said he was working to remove critical race theory from teaching materials.
“They hide it in… socio-emotional learning. So that doesn’t say Critical Race Theory, but you could definitely have a teacher who teaches Critical Race Theory, ”Corcoran said.