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Educators react to DeSantis’ civics plan excluding critical race theory

Published: Mar. 25, 2021 at 6:35 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -$106 million is promised by Governor Ron DeSantis for his Civic Literacy Excellence Initiative but the course critical race theory will not be included.

“Since we’ve been given the white version of history that means you are asking about diversion of history,” said Newberry High School teacher Jordan Marlowe. Along with being the mayor of Newberry, Marlowe teaches African-American history at Newberry High and said politicians shouldn’t have a say in what courses students can take.

RELATED STORY: DeSantis knocks critical race theory in civics curricula

Critical race theory, as described by the American Bar Association: “It critiques how the social construction of race and institutionalized racism perpetuate a racial caste system that relegates people of color to the bottom tiers.”

“For me, all that means is that you are looking at history and you’re looking at history through the eyes of race and you’re doing that critically,” said Marlowe.

While civics-related courses are already required for students in Florida’s public school system, Gov. DeSantis said he wants Florida to have the best civics program in the nation.

“Let me be clear, there is no room for our classrooms for things like critical race theory,” added DeSantis.

RELATED STORY: UF Law students defend online critical race theory class after the college cancelled it for the Fall semester

University of Florida Levin College of Law Professor Michelle Jacobs teaches critical race theory every Fall term. In her class, there’s no way to learn about civics without understanding the role race plays within the topic.

“The founding fathers were really critical, important people,” added Jacobs. “Right? They were important people and their thumbprint is on our very democracy. But it doesn’t mean that they didn’t discuss difficult issues. They wrote about slavery. They sent letters back and forth to each other. They made speeches about it.”

Gov. DeSantis said critical race theory creates division and there’s no room for it in the civics curriculum.

“Teaching kids to hate their country and to hate each other is not worth one red cent of taxpayer money.” The Governor encouraged state lawmakers to put the proposal on paper for him to sign into law before session ends April 30. The governor’s proposal is waiting for a sponsor to introduce it in the state house and senate.

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