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Surrounded by lawmakers, Florida Gov.Ron DeSantis speaks at the end of a legislative session, Friday, April 30, 2021, at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis wants to create a registry — of political views. The former presidential hopeful recently signed House Bill 223, requiring Florida colleges and universities that receive federal funding to survey faculty annually on their political views. 

This chilling abuse of power comes as many GOP politicians continue to push for conservative ideology in schools. Governor DeSantis and other conservatives have long promoted the idea that higher education has a progressive agenda.   

HB 223 maintains that schools must “conduct an annual survey measuring ‘intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity’ on their campuses. It’s an effort to gauge ‘the extent to which competing ideas and perspectives are presented,’ as well as how free students, faculty and staff feel ‘to express their beliefs and viewpoints,’” according to the bill. 

Punishing educators for their views

This would not be the first time educators risk punishment for their political views. From the 1960s, when Black professors were fired for supporting civil rights continuing through today, when Essex County College fired professor Lisa Durden for supporting Black Lives Matter

Former Professor Durden is now suing the school for violating her civil rights.

The backlash against Governor DeSantis and HB 223 has been swift and loud. Calling the bill one that addresses several “non-existent issues,” Josh Weierbach, the executive director of Florida Watch, a progressive organization, noted that the bill is “targeting our public universities with partisan attacks.”

Bill goes into effect in July

HB 223 was signed on June 22, and is set to go into practice on July 1, just weeks before colleges’ fall semester is set to begin. The bill was part of a group of three education bills that addressed “patriotism” in schools, as well as required “civics education” for college that compared political ideologies against American capitalism and representative democracy. 

HB 223, which is likely to be challenged in court, is also a political move for Governor DeSantis, who is testing the waters to run for President again in 2024. According to Progress Florida, “It’s unfortunate our governor continues to manufacture fake controversies designed to distract Floridians from his abysmal record of raising taxes and manufacturing culture war controversies.”

Erika Stone is a graduate student in the Master of Social Work program at the University of Oklahoma, and a graduate assistant at Schusterman Library. A Chess Memorial Scholar, she has a B.A. in Psychology...

2 replies on “Florida governor forcing teachers to submit their political views to the government”

  1. Mind Control anyone? Certainly no one without a fictionalized view of American history should have any job in education. We have plenty of precedent. Teaching only the Flat earth was the law. Evolution could not be taught. And we just recovered from the whole right wing bru haha over teaching critical thinking in schools. National tours, and even a full length blockbuster move against Common Core teaching. The problem with critical thinking is that the right wing sloganeering doesn’t fly with anyone who practices analytical thought. “Drill, Baby, Drill!” is a great example of the fraudulent arguments for “Energy Independence”. Three word slogans like “Lock her Up” are the staple of the uneducated messaging of DeSantis and his know Nothing party. The only way we can stay in power is to prevent voting, have our state legislature make the call who won despite any vote count and fire any teacher who dares to teach. Our children must be indoctrinated in our history explaining why only White, landowning men should vote, no people of color, no renters, no women, what’s wrong with that?. That’s they way the Constitution was Originally written and damn if were going to change things now! Strict Constructionism and originalism forever!

  2. Now he has proposed a new bill that would force public schools to teach that Biden and the Dems are Communists and practice Marxism. Knowing a lot of refugees in Florida come from Cuba and Venezuela this is clearly a State mandated effort to sway elections in Florida. The argument itself is completely false as the core of Marxism is to control the “means of production” and no Democrat has advocated anything like that. Just lies, lies and more lies. Now the survey of competing ideas, is actually a survey of how many complete falsehoods are taught as opposed to the truth. The Bible of conservative thought, the National Review magazine was never banned from Facebook, etc. Conservative ideas are untouched. What is banned is complete fabrications. Dangerous lies such as the hated Asians’ Bamboo paper in the Arizona ballots or the Italian satellites controlling our voting machines. These are demonstrably total fabrications not “conservative thought”. Unfortunately this demonstrates why Trump only leads among uneducated voters. You have to be incapable of thought or reason to think made up Q based lies are censored conservative political thought. Lies are not conservative ideas, they are completely made up “alternative facts’ MAGA is so famous for. You cannot lie to people without repercussions. Lies are not conservative principles in the marketplace of idea, Lies are only conservative thought to the neo fascists’ practicing the propaganda teaching of Goebbels, the famous Nazi Minister of Information who justified the slaughter of 6 million Jews, blacks and gypseys. .

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