Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) said during Tuesday remarks about the state’s education system that Florida is “the place where woke goes to die.”
In the wake of social unrest during the summer of 2020, the pace at which Critical Race Theory (CRT) and radical gender ideology infiltrated government education rapidly increased. DeSantis vowed during a press conference about the upcoming school year that Florida would continue to oppose such trends.
“Obviously in the classroom we’ve battled a lot of ideologies. What I’ve said is the state of Florida is the place where woke goes to die,” DeSantis said. “We are not going to let this state descend into some type of woke dumpster fire. We’re going to be following common sense, we’re going to be following facts.”
DeSantis: "The state of Florida is the place where woke goes to die. We are not going to let this state descend into some kind of woke dumpster fire."pic.twitter.com/xcl43VkK69
— Daily Wire (@realDailyWire) August 16, 2022
The comments come as the United States faces shortage of teachers and support staff. National Education Association President Rebecca Pringle, for example, estimated during an interview with ABC News that the United States lacks 300,000 educators and support staff — the fruition of a “crisis in the number of students who are going into the teaching profession and the number of teachers who are leaving it.” In recent interviews with The Daily Wire, however, executives of Christian education companies argued that teachers unions and the educator training pipeline discourage professionals from entering the sector.
“I think these schools of education and the specific way they go about, I don’t think is the right way to do it,” DeSantis continued. “I don’t think these schools have proven to be effective. I think what you do is you get people that have proficiency in core academic disciplines, then you have them go in. But trying to teach them at certain schools of education, I think that’s been overtaken by ideology. I think that’s a turn-off for a lot of people.”
Earlier this year, DeSantis signed parental rights legislation banning classroom instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity from kindergarten to third grade — a move that was opposed by Disney and other corporate interests. In response, DeSantis repeatedly vowed that Disney would “never run this state” during his tenure and signed legislation nixing the Reedy Creek Improvement District — a special governing and tax district that hosts Disney World.
“Our mantra has been, in our schools, to educate kids, not indoctrinate kids,” DeSantis said during the press conference. “Hopefully what we’re doing is saying that teaching is not about learning ‘education in college or university,’ it’s really about having proficiency in subjects, then learning on the ground about how to do it.”
Beyond reforms of government education, homeschooling rates across the nation grew from 5.4% to 11.1% between the periods of April-May 2020 and September-October 2020, according to data from the Census Bureau, with 5 million American children receiving their education at home by the summer of 2021. Another report from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools revealed that charter school enrollment saw 7.1% growth during the 2020-2021 school year.
In response to teacher shortages — which are likely also driven by an overall decline in labor force participation over the past two years — teachers union officials have called for more funding to be directed toward government schools. American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, for example, pointed to “inadequate support and resources” and “subpar compensation” in a July press release discussing the shortage.