Monday, January 23, 2023


I saw this at Mastodon today:

It was in response to a post by Judd Legum:
Teachers in Manatee County, Florida, are being told to make their classroom libraries — and any other "unvetted" book — inaccessible to students, or risk felony prosecution. The new policy is part of an effort to comply with new laws and regulations championed by Governor Ron DeSantis....

... the policy was put into place last week in response to HB 1467, which was signed into law by DeSantis last March. That law established that teachers could not be trusted to select books appropriate for their students. Instead, the law requires:
Each book made available to students through a school district library media center or included in a recommended or assigned school or grade-level reading list must be selected by a school district employee who holds a valid educational media specialist certificate, regardless of whether the book is purchased, donated, or otherwise made available to students.
... A rule passed by the Florida Department of Education last week states that a "library media center" includes any books made available to students, including in classrooms. This means that classroom libraries that are curated by teachers, not librarians, are now illegal.
DeSantis is awful and the law is awful -- but is the goal really to drive children to private schools? Is that the master plan?

My hunch is that DeSantis has one master plan: to be elected president. He's trying to do this, of course, by being the most anti-woke politician evar. I'm sure he's not particularly fond of public education, but I question whether he's thinking about any of this beyond his own personal ambition. After all, if you were a liberal or moderate parent who didn't want to see messages and classroom photos like this from your own children's teachers ...

... wouldn't you assume that DeSantis, the Great Disney Slayer, might someday sign a law extending the ban to private schools in the state as well?

I think it's more likely that DeSantis just doesn't care what the consequences of this law might be. I don't think he cares whether children could be traumatized someday by seeing a teacher dragged out of a classroom and put in handcuffs, as long as he scores a few more Fox News appearances and his career is advanced.

Whether it's expanding access to firearms during a wave of mass shootings, urging an end to public health measures during a deadly pandemic, or repeatedly threatening to send the federal government into default during debt ceiling negotiations, Republicans just do what impresses with their angriest voters and don't care what happens to the country as a result. They've never been concerned about the possible consequences of allying themselves with armed right-wing anti-government activists like the Bundy family, or the Tea Party, or the QAnon and MAGA movements, even after January 6. They don't care how corrosive to America the relentless disinformation on Fox News is. And now Kevin McCarthy, the Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, says this about Marjorie Taylor Greene, the most deranged conspiratorialist in Congress:
“I will never leave that woman,” Mr. McCarthy, a California Republican, told the friend, who described the private conversation on the condition of anonymity. “I will always take care of her.”
Jonathan Swan and Cait Edmondson of The New York Times tell us that McCarthy, "who has little in the way of a fixed ideology of his own," has embraced Greene -- sometimes quite literally and passionately...

... because he apparently doesn't care what she and her ideological allies might do to the country. His alliance with her helps him -- that's all that matters. McCarthy, we're told,
has come to regard the Georgia congresswoman as a vital proxy for the desires and demands of the right-wing base that increasingly drives his party. He has adopted her stances on opposing vaccine mandates and questioning funding for the war in Ukraine, and even her call to reinvestigate the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol to show what she has called “the other side of the story.”
At the end of the day, most of these people care about a couple of policy goals -- primarily making the rich richer, which, I guess, might be DeSantis's goal in harming the public schools, because rich people don't like powerful teachers' unions, and some want to cash in on a shift to private and charter schools. But for the most part, they seem to regard themselves as too well protected ever to suffer personally from the societal harm they're causing, or perhaps they don't even see the harm at all.

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