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DeSantis Launches Anti-‘Woke Agenda’ State Education Plan

Neil lives in Canada and writes about society and politics.
Published: June 21, 2022
DeSantis launched a new anti-woke agenda education plan to protect students from CRT and gender and sexuality grooming.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks during a campaign event on April 27, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. DeSantis launched a new anti-“Woke Agenda” state education plan to keep LGBT grooming and Marxist Critical Race Theory out of Florida’s classrooms. (Image: Ronda Churchill/Getty Images)

Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis has announced his administration will launch a new education plan designed for “combatting the woke agenda from infiltrating public schools.”

Formally called the DeSantis Education Agenda: Putting Students First, Protecting Parents’ Rights, the plan is part of DeSantis’s re-election campaign for the upcoming Nov. 8 Gubernatorial Election. 

Published on the Governor’s website, the Agenda states it “is for school board candidates and school board members who are committed to advancing these [anti-woke] priorities at the local school board level.”

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It features a brief 10-item set of points, such as rejecting school COVID lockdowns, ensuring parental rights, keeping “woke gender ideology” out of schools, rejecting the Marxist-based Critical Race Theory scheme, increasing teacher pay, and guaranteeing parents have a right to curriculum transparency. 

On June 15, DeSantis gave a statement on the plan to The Federalist, where he noted that, “Curriculum in states around the country are being used as opportunities to indoctrinate innocent children.”

The Agenda’s website also has a link at the bottom to “Take DeSantis Education Survey,” which Florida public radio broadcaster WUSF noted was directed exclusively at school board candidates, giving them an option to “sign a certificate pledging their support for the governor’s agenda.”

According to the outlet, the questionnaire asks items such as, “Does CRT (critical race theory) belong in K-12 public education classrooms in Florida?” and whether or not students should “be locked out of school or subjected to forced masking.”

WUSF states that the questionnaire is apparently not meant to be completed anonymously: “Some questions prompt the respondent to record a video answering the question or provide a written answer.”

The station notes that the move is particularly apt, as the Florida legislature passed a bill imposing a 12-year term limit on school board members in March.

“I’m a big believer in term limits. But you don’t always have to wait for that,” WUSF quoted DeSantis at an event for the signing of the bill. “You can throw the bums out in the election.”

In May, DeSantis signed an additional bill into law that names November 7 Victims of Communism Memorial Day.

The move was notable because it requires all public schools to observe the day, in addition to providing high school students with at least one 45 minute session on topics such as Chinese Communist Party mass murderer Mao Zedong and the Cultural Revolution, Stalin and the Soviets, Castro and the Cuban Revolution, and more.

Although the legislation was passed without a single “nay,” four Republican House of Representative members and one Democrat Senator were marked as “not voting” in the roll call. 

The bill was also exceptionally notable because the text of the 3-page bill made a point of specifically calling out Marxist-Leninism as it stated, “Based on the economic philosophies of Karl Marx, communism has proven incompatible with the ideals of liberty, prosperity, and dignity of human life and has given rise to such infamous totalitarian dictators as Joseph Stalin, Vladimir Lenin, Mao Zedong, and Pol Pot.”

According to Ballotpedia, a primary for the Gubernatorial Election will be held on Aug. 23 where DeSantis will face off against Republican contender John Joseph Mercadante while five Democrats will face off to decide their challenger.

In terms of funding, Ballotpedia shows DeSantis is far and away the leader, having raised more than $92 million compared to his contender’s $416.00. 

DeSantis’s coffers also dwarf his Democrat rivals. Charlie Crist has raised slightly more than $8.2 million while Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried has raised $1.9 million.

Website RealClearPolitics shows polling data favors DeSantis against both Crist and Fried. In the case of Crist, DeSantis is riding an average lead of 9 points, which increases to an average of slightly more than 11 against Fried.

In 2018, DeSantis won by a hair, defeating Democrat Andrew Gillum by less than 33,000 votes out of more than 8.2 million cast.