(LifeSiteNews) – The DeSantis administration’s efforts to “de-woke” public education in Florida are bearing fruit, with ten districts so far pledging to comply with standards backed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.
The New York Post reports that state Board of Education Senior Chancellor Jacob Oliva sent letters to ten districts warning them that they were not in compliance with Florida’s parenteral rights in education law that, among other things, requires schools to notify parents if their child displays signs of mental or emotional issues such as acting or identifying as a member of the opposite sex, and that all ten have pledged to shape up.
Parents have a right to know about any “change in the student’s services or monitoring related to the student’s mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being and the school’s ability to provide a safe and supportive learning environment for the student,” Oliva wrote to the Alachua, Broward, Brevard, Duval, Hillsborough, Indian River, Leon, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach school districts, as well as the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind in St. Augustine. This includes a “student’s privacy, name and pronoun usage, and restroom and locker room usage,” he added.
Oliva delivered the update at a board of education meeting last Wednesday, noting that the Alachua and Brevard districts have already required that students only use bathrooms that align with their actual sex, and saying his office will follow up with all ten respondents to ensure their full compliance.
De-politicizing education has been a major priority for DeSantis. Last year, he announced a state curriculum overhaul to “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 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 the aforementioned parental rights law that also 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.
DeSantis also took an unusual role in this fall’s midterm elections by endorsing school board candidates opposed to ideological indoctrination in the classroom. In August, 25 of 30 school board candidates endorsed by DeSantis and the group 1776 Project PAC 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.
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.