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Gov. DeSantis announces higher education reform, tenured professors must undergo 5-year review

Published: Apr. 19, 2022 at 11:33 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Governor Ron DeSantis announced major changes to Florida’s higher education system during a visit to The Villages today.

One of the biggest changes that will come from SB 7044, is that it requires tenured professors to undergo a review every five years.

“So now with tenure you have a five year review, every five years you go in front of the board of trustees,” said DeSantis.

Tenure protects professors from losing their jobs, and makes it more difficult for the college or university to fire them. DeSantis said he feels many professors become less productive once they’re tenured.

“We definitely have some tenured professors that maybe are dropping the ball a little bit here and there, so it’s kinda nice to know that they are also being held to higher standards,” said Roman Martinez, a student at UF.

The bill also makes changes to what DeSantis calls the “accreditation monopoly.”

“It requires diversity with the accreditations. You can’t just keep going to the same accreditor. I think that’s something that’s going to be very, very significant,” he said.

In a statement, the United Faculty of Florida wrote: “DeSantis made it clear today that controlling the thoughts and actions of the higher education community is more important to him than the quality of education Florida’s students receive.”

The bill also requires colleges to provide a preview of the curriculum students would learn in a course.

“To fulfill core requirements it actually has to be courses with academic integrity,” said DeSantis. “It’s not going to be some of these courses that they’re using to smuggle in ideology and politics.”

One student said he thinks any law that requires more class transparency can only be a good thing.

“I think if everybody knows what they’re getting into, you kind of avoid a lot of the issues that come later in the semester,” said Antony Perez.

This law will go into effect on July 1st.

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