(LifeSiteNews) – Educators in Florida have already started to be ousted from their leadership positions thanks to newly “anti-woke” school boards elected with the help of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.
In August, 25 of 30 school board candidates endorsed by DeSantis and the anti-Critical Race Theory group 1776 Project PAC, based on their opposition to ideological indoctrination in the classroom, won elections, flipping the school boards of Miami Dade, Martin, Clay, Sarasota, and Duval counties from Democrat to Republican control. Last month, six out of six additional candidates won runoff elections.
As a result, Politico reported, more-conservative school boards have already forced out left-wing superintendents in Brevard and Sarasota counties. A third superintendent was ousted in Broward County, which was not part of the electoral sweep but has five new board members appointed by the governor.
“We had a wave in school districts that spit in parents’ faces,” Republican state Rep. Randy Fine said. “And now the people who did that are gone.”
In Sarasota, Superintendent Brennan Asplen came under fire for his implementation of a mandatory masking policy for three weeks, as well as student reading performance and a “perceived lack of transparency,” according to Politico. Brevard Superintendent Mark Mullins was ousted in a rare case of agreement between conservatives and teacher’s unions over issues with student discipline and vacancies in teaching positions.
“Elsewhere in Florida, new board members endorsed by DeSantis are also scoring leadership roles,” Politico added. ‘In Lee County, for example, new board members Armor Persons and Sam Fisher, both endorsed by DeSantis, were elected as chair and vice chair of the school board, as reported by the Fort Myers News-Press.”
De-politicizing education has been a major priority for DeSantis. Last year, he announced a state curriculum overhaul that would “expressly exclude unsanctioned narratives like critical race theory and other unsubstantiated theories,” because “our schools are supposed to give people a foundation of knowledge, not supposed to be indoctrination centers, where you’re trying to push specific ideologies.” As a result, Florida has rejected scores of textbooks that fell short of state standards, prompting publishers to revise them.
Earlier this year, DeSantis signed a curriculum transparency law requiring public schools to make classroom materials available for parental review, as well as a parental rights law that bans schools from teaching children in kindergarten through third grade about transgenderism and other sexuality-related issues, limits discussions of sexuality for older children to “age appropriate” content, and requires parents to be informed of any changes that could affect their child’s physical, emotional, or mental well-being.
The governor’s friends and foes alike recognized his intervention in school board races as an unprecedented move, as state leaders tend not to involve themselves in local races. Many on the political Right hope that his example will be emulated by Republicans in other states, potentially leading to more comprehensive cultural transformation.
The governor’s record on the issue also feeds into his broader record as a proactive conservative governor, fueling growing interest in a potential 2024 presidential run.