Matt Bush, FISM News
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis proposed legislation called the “Stop W.O.K.E. Act” that would ban state funding from schools that teach Critical Race Theory (CRT) and prohibit corporations in Florida from including it in employee training programs.
The proposed legislation is actually called the “Stop the Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees Act,” but at a recent press conference a sign with the words “STOP WOKE ACT” were clearly visible.
According to an AP report, in June of this year the Florida State Board of Education banned CRT from public school classrooms. These rules were put into place to “shield schoolchildren from curricula that could distort historical events,” according to a Board spokesman.
The Stop WOKE Act would take the school board ban even further. Rather than simply banning CRT from being taught in public schools, the new legislation would come with punitive measures to any school system that allows it.
DeSantis said during his speech, “What we’ve seen recently is, you can legislate things, like the Parents’ Bill of Rights, and sometimes the school districts don’t always follow it. We are going to be including in this legislation, giving parents private right of action to be able to enforce the prohibition on CRT and they get to recover attorneys’ fees when they prevail.”
On the official DeSantis website, the act is described like this: “The Stop W.O.K.E. Act will be the strongest legislation of its kind in the nation and will take on both corporate wokeness and Critical Race Theory.”
CRT has generated controversy nationwide, and especially over its presence in public school curriculum. Proponents of CRT believe that “federal law has preserved the unequal treatment of people on the basis of race and that the country was founded on the theft of land and labor.” Opponents of the theory, on the other hand, say that, while racism is part of America’s history, children should not be taught that America is fundamentally racist.
People on both sides of the issue accuse the other of politicizing race and CRT for their own political gain, and many on the left believe that DeSantis is pushing this legislation for that reason. DeSantis, for his part said, “We have a responsibility to stand for the truth, to stand for what’s right, and we’re doing that, and we’ve put more resources and emphasis on teaching civics, on teaching people about American history. But we also have to protect people and protect our kids from some very pernicious ideologies that are trying to be forced upon them all across the country.”
The Governor drew backlash from the left by quoting MLK during his speech. Forbes quotes DeSantis as saying: “‘You think about what MLK stood for—he said he didn’t want people judged on the color of their skin, but on the content of their character. You listen to some of these people nowadays, they don’t talk about that,’ DeSantis said, quoting civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. to criticize critical race theory.”
Florida State Senator Shevrin Jones tweeted about the quote:
.@GovRonDeSantis press conference is WILD!! In all of my 38 years of living, I have never seen or heard such foolishness.
— Shevrin “Shev” Jones (@ShevrinJones) December 15, 2021
DeSantis, however, is only gaining in popularity as a political candidate. He will be running for reelection for governor in Florida, and he is seen as a frontrunner for the Republican nomination for President in 2024