Ron DeSantis signs a new bill forbidding the use of taxpayer money to finance diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in Florida public colleges.
Banning diversity, equity, and inclusion programs (DEI) is not the only restriction on classroom discussions. DeSantis had previously forbidden the discussion of race in the classroom. Such programs and courses are integral to building social and racial tolerance among students.
These programs also help to build stronger relationships between the faculty and students. The current administration states that these programs are tools for sowing social discord among students. It also promotes left-wing ideology and politics among the students.
DeSantis signed the bill at the New College of Florida campus, a liberal arts college. In the public address, he stated that DEI now stands for discrimination, exclusion, and indoctrination. DeSantis said that such values hold no value in the present education system.
The new law is part of a legislation announced in January. This is another tool for Republicans and conservatives to fight against the left-wing-based programs pushed onto the American education system.
DeSantis’ bid to ban culturally significant programs
DeSantis has gained the upper hand in influencing educational policies. He can decide which programs are appropriate and which are unnecessary at educational institutes in Florida. Gender discussion and diversity programs will come under his purview.
DeSantis also holds the power to decide who can be hired at the universities in Florida. As Florida governor, he appoints the board of trustees, and they hire the educators. Experts claim that the new bill is an attack against “woke” politicians and policies propagated by left-wing supporters.
Criticism faced by the law
The law has faced criticism on several fronts. Critics worry that the law will suppress all educational freedom in the state. It will also nullify all efforts to create racial inclusion among students.
Educational experts and advocates of the First Amendment state that the law will harm an educator’s freedom. As such, they may stop teaching controversial topics altogether.
Irene Mulvey, the president of the American Association of University Professors, states that the new bill is a state-mandated censorship of education. These laws will be the fall of democracy in the country.
She continues to state that the new legislation and similar bills are planned steps to maintain White supremacy in the state. The bill will act as a dog whistle, calling all conservatives in the state.
The signing of the bill drew protestors from all over the state. Christopher Russo, a new trustee at the New College of Florida, calls the protest attempt a childish effort. He has also co-written a paper titled The Model Anti-DEI Legislation.
Courses banned under the new legislation
The new law has now forbidden public colleges from offering general education courses. These courses are mandatory in all college curricula. However, the new bill states that they distort historical events and enforce identity politics.
It continues to state that such courses showcase that racism, oppression, sexism, and privilege are prevalent in the United States. Such ideologies existed to showcase the social, racial, and economic inequalities present in America.
DeSantis states that students can still study these subjects out of state. He said that Florida public colleges are no longer in the game to teach such subjects. DeSantis also stated that students can attend Berkeley University if they wish to study gender ideology.
Colleges and universities can still offer courses on African American studies and gender studies. The professors are concerned that they may be unable to do the subject justice as it may or may not fall under general education courses.