‘Higher education must return to its essential foundations of academic integrity and the pursuit of knowledge instead of being corrupted by destructive ideologies,’ Florida education commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. said.
The Florida Board of Education (BOE) announced Wednesday new rules ending all use of taxpayer dollars for the woke Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) agenda in public academia, the latest move in Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ years-long campaign to make the Sunshine State a model of conservative education reform.
The new rule “defined, for the first time, DEI and affirmatively prohibits FCS [Florida College System] institutions from using state or federal funds to administer programs that categorize individuals based on race or sex for the purpose of differential or preferential treatment,” according to a BOE press release.
Additionally, the Board replaced the “Principles of Sociology” course with a “comprehensive general education core course in American History,” which it says will “provide students with an accurate and factual account of the nation’s past, rather than exposing them to radical woke ideologies, which had become commonplace in the now replaced course.”
“Higher education must return to its essential foundations of academic integrity and the pursuit of knowledge instead of being corrupted by destructive ideologies,” state education commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. said. “These actions today ensure that we will not spend taxpayers’ money supporting DEI and radical indoctrination that promotes division in our society.”
The new policies apply to all 28 publicly funded college campuses in the Sunshine State.
The move builds upon a law DeSantis signed last year to bar tax dollars for DEI programs and prohibit “programs, majors, minors, curriculum, and general education core courses that violate Florida law regarding prohibited discrimination or that are based on theories that systemic racism, sexism, oppression, and privilege are inherent in the institutions of the United States and were created to maintain social, political, and economic inequities.”
Throughout his governorship, DeSantis has worked to get ideological proselytization out of education and more generally make Florida the place “where woke goes to die,” as he said in his second inaugural address.
He has taken numerous actions to prohibit critical race theory and age-inappropriate sexual discussions from classrooms, help elect like-minded conservatives to local school boards, force compliance with state standards such as keeping restrooms sex specific, and replace “‘woke” teaching materials with new curricula designed to cultivate appreciation for America’s founding principles and system of constitutional government.
Those actions, part of a broader record as one of the most proactive conservative leaders in the country, fueled calls for DeSantis to seek the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential nomination. However, former President Donald Trump currently maintains a commanding lead for the nomination after his first primary victory on Monday in the Iowa caucuses, picking up 51 percent of the vote and 20 delegates to DeSantis’s 21 percent and nine delegates, and former Trump U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley’s 19 percent and eight delegates. A total of 1,215 delegates are needed to secure the GOP nomination.