Florida is the latest state to bar critical race theory, an intellectual movement that’s been around for decades that seeks to expose racism in American life that’s become a bugaboo of late for conservatives.
The Florida Board of Education voted 8-0 Thursday to direct Florida teachers to not “share their personal view” or “indoctrinate or persuade students to a particular point of view” in the classroom.
While the language does not specifically mention critical race theory by name, it will effectively ban the theory from being taught to the more than 2.8 million children enrolled in Florida public schools.
It has not been taught in Florida public schools, but the proposal was heavily pushed in recent weeks by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who said critical race theory “encourages children to hate our country and to hate each other.” Some educators criticized the proposal, saying it whitewashes U.S. history and calling it political in nature.
The Florida Education Association, the state teachers union, rallied against the rule and proposed an amendment to state guidelines that would “reflect a more diverse America than are represented in our founding documents,” which was shot down.
Critical race theory emerged in the seventies and is based on the notion that white supremacy is systemically upheld in the U.S. by the legal system and other powers in place, and is not solely perpetuated by individuals’ racist actions. Critical race theory began to draw backlash from conservatives on the national stage after the New York Times Magazine published a series about U.S. history called the 1619 Project that puts the role of racism and slavery front and center in U.S. history. The project includes resources so teachers can use the material in classrooms, which led to Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) introduced a bill last year that would slash federal funding to schools that teach the “1619 Project,” which was not passed. In December, former President Donald Trump launched a panel he called “the 1776 commission” that aimed to promote “patriotic education,” in response to the project.