Thursday, June 24, 2021


This news about Ron DeSantis got most of the attention yesterday:
Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation requiring students, faculty and staff at Florida's public universities and colleges to register their political views with the state ...

The state will require taxpayer-funded colleges and universities to issue surveys to determine "the extent to which competing ideas and perspectives are presented" on campus and whether students, faculty and staff "feel free to express [their] beliefs and viewpoints," although it's not clear what will be done with the poll results....

DeSantis and the bill's sponsor, state Sen. Ray Rodrigues (R-Estero), suggested funding could be cut as punishment for colleges and universities found to be "indoctrinating" students under the measure....
But not enough attention was paid to another bill DeSantis signed at the same ceremony:
The first measure the governor highlighted (HB 5) was only three pages long but will seek to reshape the way civics is taught to students from kindergarten through 12th grade.

The bill, set to go into effect July 1, will direct the state Department of Education to develop a civics curriculum that aims to “assist students in developing” an understanding of four concepts, including the rights and responsibilities of being a citizen....

The measure also will revise social-studies requirements for high school graduation to include in U.S. Government courses “a comparative discussion of political ideologies, such as communism and totalitarianism, that conflict with the principles of freedom and democracy essential to the founding principles of the United States.”

The Department of Education also will be directed to create a video library dubbed “Portraits In Patriotism.” The video library will include “first-person accounts of victims of other nations' governing philosophies who can compare those philosophies with those of the United States.”
This is in imitation of DeSantis's master...
President Trump pressed his case Thursday that U.S. schools are indoctrinating children with a left-wing agenda hostile to the nation’s Founding Fathers, describing efforts to educate students about racism and slavery as an insult to the country’s lofty founding principles.

... Trump said he would create a national commission to promote a “pro-American curriculum that celebrates the truth about our nation’s great history,” which he said would encourage educators to teach students about the “miracle of American history.”

Trump is calling the panel the “1776 Commission” ...
... who was following the lead of other autocrats around the world:
Thousands of Turkish academics, including prominent liberal intellectuals, were removed from faculty positions and teaching jobs in recent years amid a broader purge carried out by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government. In India, professors and student activists on university campuses have been demonized by the country’s jingoistic media networks and its ruling Hindu nationalist party, which has also sought to revamp the nation’s history textbooks.

Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, came to power breathing fury over “Marxist” infiltration in the country’s schools, which he and his allies even claimed promoted “homosexuality and promiscuity.”

... in Hungary, ... long-ruling illiberal Prime Minister Viktor Orban has waged a relentless culture war. His government has taken broad aim at independent nongovernmental organizations and other liberal entities, including forcing out the Central European University, one of the more celebrated institutions of higher education in the region. Orban has imposed revisions to school curriculums in an avowed bid to restore “national self-esteem” and hail the country’s Christian identity.

“There’s no such thing as a neutral education,” Zoltan Kovacs, a government spokesman, bluntly told the BBC earlier this year. “Educational systems are about values ... about teaching what we think are the values of Hungarian society.”
We can safely assume that DeSantis wants the survey so he can use the collected data as a pretext for some high-profile defunding of one or more institutions or departments right before the 2022 gubernatorial election or the 2024 presidential campaign. The "patriotic education" provisions in the other bill suggest something else: that DeSantis, like Erdogan, Bolsonaro, and Orban, is actually in favor of indoctrination, as long as he and his ideological allies are the ones doing the indoctrinating.

Many of the people behind the Critical Race Theory panic seem to have no idea what they'd like to put in place of all that alleged CRT in the schools -- they just want CRT to go away. Like other pro-indoctrination authoritarians, DeSantis has ideas. He'd do the same as president, and unlike Trump, whose 1776 Commission was proposed late in his term, and was killed by President Biden shortly after Biden was inaugurated, DeSantis would probably follow through much more effectively. Be forewarned.

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