SARASOTA, Florida (LifeSiteNews) – Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis announced this week new legislation geared toward “bring[ing] more accountability to the higher education system,” including firm prohibitions on state funding for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) or Critical Race Theory (CRT) materials.
“In Florida, we will build off of our higher education reforms by aligning core curriculum to the values of liberty and the Western tradition, eliminating politicized bureaucracies like DEI, increasing the amount of research dollars for programs that will feed key industries with talented Florida students, and empowering presidents and boards of trustees to recruit and hire new faculty, including by dedicating record resources for faculty salaries,” DeSantis said.
According to a press release and fact sheet from the governor’s office, the proposed legislation will impose new standards on colleges and universities “rooted in the values of liberty and the western tradition,” including requiring that general education courses prioritize degrees that lead to “high-wage jobs” without engaging in ideological indoctrination and prohibiting the promotion of DEI or CRT on campus or using DEI in hiring decisions.
The proposal also requires the “State University System Board of Governors (BOG) and State Board of Education (SBOE) to review and realign general education core courses to make sure they provide historically accurate, foundational and career relevant education” rather than “suppress[ing] or distort[ing] significant historical events or include a curriculum that teaches identity politics”; requires institutions leadership to “take ownership of hiring and retention decisions, without interference from unions and faculty committees”; and allows leadership to “conduct a post-tenure review of a faculty member at any time with cause.”
“Under Governor DeSantis’s leadership, Florida’s state university system has remained the number one system for public higher education in America, and a four-year degree has never been more affordable,” said Ray Rodrigues, chancellor of the State University System of Florida. “We applaud the Governor for his commitment to providing our students a high-quality education that focuses on academic excellence and is free from ideological agendas determining what they should learn.”
The new policies are the latest in DeSantis’s ongoing efforts to follow through on the promises he made in his second inaugural address to continue getting ideological proselytization out of education and more thoroughly making Florida the place “where woke goes to die.”
He has taken numerous actions to prohibit critical race theory and age-inappropriate sexual discussions from classrooms and help elect like-minded conservatives to local school boards, as well as force compliance with state standards such as keeping restrooms sex-specific. Most recently, his administration’s rejection of a pilot course for Advanced Placement African American Studies got the left-wing College Board to drop its most controversial new additions.
These actions are part of a broader proactive conservative record that have contributed to his popularity as a potential contender for the GOP’s 2024 presidential nomination, though he has not yet announced intentions to run.
As the only declared candidate so far, former President Donald Trump currently leads the 2024 Republican field in national polls, though DeSantis leads a number of state primary polls and polls better than Trump against incumbent Democrat President Joe Biden. DeSantis is widely expected to make his candidacy official once Florida’s current legislative session concludes this spring.