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DeSantis wants legislature to use federal CARES money for civics lessons in schools barring ‘critical race theory’

Teachers could face new mandates after Gov. Ron DeSantis said he is proposing legislation that could use millions of federal CARES Act dollars for civics lessons in Florida classrooms.

DeSantis made the announcement on Wednesday from North Collier Regional Park in Naples.

He outlined what he thought were acceptable topics to be taught in civics curricula that he said would get a $106 million boost thanks to pandemic-related federal funding directed at states, according to the Associated Press.

The Associated Press reported that under the governor’s proposal, teachers who get credentialed in teaching civics would get a $3,000 bonus.

  • $6.5 million would be used for developing partnerships between schools and governments in an effort to get students interested in public service
  • $17 million would go toward curricula development that would not include “unsanctioned narratives like critical race theory.”

“There is no room in our classrooms for things like critical race theory, teaching kids to hate their country is not worth one red cent of taxpayer money,” DeSantis said.

The Associated Press reports critical race theory examines the way race and racism influence politics, culture and the law.

Two Southwest Florida educators said they liked the governor’s proposal but are not ready to jump on board to ban content.

“I think sometimes the absolute elimination of things on face value maybe restrict discourse,” said Kevin Daly, the president of the Teachers Association of Lee County.

Lee County School Board member asked exactly what it means to get rid of “critical race theory.”

“Is that complete exclusion,” Fischer said. “Does that take us away from our equity and inclusion standards?”

WINK News asked DeSantis how the new curriculum would ensure diversity.

He didn’t answer.

Instead, he said: “Well I think there’s concern in the legislature about some of these theories that are not grounded in fact, they may do something in the legislature on that…”

“Well I think when we’re funding, we’re gonna have curriculum that is going to pass muster and not be politicized, I don’t want the money going to anything that’s based in ideology,” he added.

Both Daly and Fischer said they were fans of teacher bonuses.

However, Daly added it wouldn’t address the teacher shortage issue.

Watch a replay of the Naples press conference below or click here.

DeSantis also held a press conference Wednesday in Palm Harbor.

You can watch it live below or by clicking here.

Reporter:Sydney Persing
Writer:Melissa Montoya
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