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Teachers union pushes back against new Florida education rule

Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 6:21 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAP NEWS/WCJB) - A proposed rule change by the Florida Department of Education is aimed at weeding out inaccurate accounts of American history and historical events from the classroom.

It also prohibits teachers from persuading or indoctrinating students into particular viewpoints inconsistent with state standards.

But the Florida Education Association is fighting the change and proposing their own language.

The proposed rule requires topics to be taught factually and objectively, and prohibits the suppression or distortion of historical events such as the holocaust.

The Florida Education Association argues the rule should include other historical topics as well, including slavery, the Civil War, the civil rights movement, the Trail of Tears and contributions of African Americans, Hispanic people and women to the United States.

“We should talk about every aspect of our history. We should learn from the mistakes that we have made and will make in the future as a country,” said FEA President Andrew Spar.

The rule also would prohibit teachers from ‘indoctrinating’ students to adopt viewpoints at odds with state standards.

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FEA calls it offensive and is requesting the word ‘indoctrinate’ be removed.

“To say that they’re indoctrinating students. They don’t do that. That’s just simply not fact based,” said Spar.

But Dr. Edwin Moore, Former President of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida told us he doesn’t see a problem with the proposed rule.

“By asking that it be removed, it’s almost just like they’re endorsing the act of indoctrination,” said Moore.

The rule change comes in response to recent comments made by the Governor and Education Commissioner condemning critical race theory, a controversial ideology that asserts America’s laws and legal institutions are inherently racist.

Moore said the ideology ignores how far America has come since its founding.

“There are some boils, I guess, on the side of the history of America, but we’ve always tried to correct those,” said Moore.

But FEA points out, critical race theory is not part of Florida’s curriculum.

“This is a political event; a political stunt,” said Spar.

The Board of Education is set to consider and vote on the rule change Thursday.

We reached out to the Department of Education for comment on this story, but did not hear back.

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