In a powerful indictment of Critical Race Theory (CRT) ideology being foisted on public schools and corporations across the nation on Wednesday, Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis introduced the Stop W.O.K.E Act, stating, “No taxpayer dollars should be used to teach our kids to hate our country or to hate each other.” DeSantis explained that the proposed legislation would give “parents a private right of action to be able to enforce the prohibition on CRT and they get to recover attorneys’ fees,” adding, “A lot of times, these people will fear lawsuits more than a fine from the state Department of Education because when you do a lawsuit, you get discovery.”
He also announced that the proposed legislation would “defund any money for K-12 or higher ed going to CRT consultants.”
DeSantis began by asserting, “I think it’s important to say, what are we doing positively in terms of what we want to be in our schools. I think we’ve done more than any other state to place a renewed emphasis on American civics and teaching kids about the Constitution and what it means to be an American. And we’ve been able to get requirements back into the high schools, which is very important; we have the ability and we’ll be doing exams when people leave school, which will be like a citizenship exam that naturalized citizens have to take because at the end of the day, everybody that comes through our school system, some of them will go into a variety of different fields but everyone’s going to be an American citizen, and they’re going to have duties and responsibilities. And they need to understand what that means and they need to understand the principles that our country was founded upon.”
“We also have been able to help teachers; we just launched —and it’s going to come into effect next year — the civics training program, where if you go through it, really get deep knowledge and understanding on the fundamentals, you get a $3,000 bonus,” he added.
“So we want all our students to understand: why was our country founded? What were some of the key ideas that made us different?” he asked rhetorically. “For example, our founding fathers said that we are endowed by our Creator with unalienable rights. The rights do not come from government. So these are natural rights, and we create a Constitutional system not to give us rights, but to protect the rights that we already have.”
“I think what you see now with the rise of this woke ideology is an attempt to really delegitimize our history and to delegitimize our institutions,” he declared. “I view the wokeness as a form of cultural Marxism. … They really want to tear at the fabric of our society and our culture and things that we’ve taken for granted, like the ability of parents to direct the upbringing of their kids. So this is really, really significant, and when you see these things throughout the country, where they take down a Thomas Jefferson statue in New York City or they take down Abraham Lincoln in Massachusetts or they take George Washington’s name off schools in California, that is an attempt to erase history. They want to delegitimize the founding of the country and the institutions and they basically want to replace it with a very militant form of leftism that would absolutely destroy this country if that ever took hold.”
“And so we have a responsibility to stand for the truth, to stand for what’s right. … We have to protect our kids from some very pernicious ideologies that are trying to be forced upon them all across the country,” he stated.
“Today, we are going to be introducing to the public, and we have legislators who are going to help us with this, a new piece of legislation for the upcoming legislative session, called, “Stop Wrongs Against Our Kids and Employees Act,’ the Stop W.O.K.E. Act,” DeSantis announced. “And this will do a number of things that are very important: One: It will put into statute the (Florida) Department of Education’s prohibition on CRT in K through 12 schools. No taxpayer dollars should be used to teach our kids to hate our country or to hate each other. And that’s important and that’s all well and good but I think what we’ve seen recently is you can legislate things like parents’ bill of rights, you can have certain things and sometimes the school districts always follow it. And so we are going to be including in this legislation giving parents a private right of action to be able to enforce the prohibition on CRT and they get to recover attorneys’ fees when they prevail which is very important.”
Then DeSantis pointed out the efficacy of the proposed law: “Here’s the thing: A lot of times, these people will fear lawsuits more than a fine from the state Department of Education because when you do a lawsuit, you get discovery. And you’re subject to that, and when they say they’re not doing CRT and then you have all this information showing that they are doing it, it really is an uncomfortable position for them.”
He slammed CRT advocates, saying, “We also need to understand that this has become a cottage industry, this CRT. There’s people making huge amounts of money. They basically will get tens of thousands of dollars to go in and do a training, sometimes at schools, sometimes in businesses, basically saying, ‘Pay me $50,000 so I can teach your employees how racist capitalism is.’ And I’m thinking to myself, ‘Well, you’re certainly charging a king’s ransom to do that. You don’t complain about capitalism when you’re lining your own pocket.’
He concluded, “Our legislation will defund any money for K-12 or higher ed going to CRT consultants.”
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