Florida Republicans are backing Gov. Ron DeSantis’ bold plans, which include two key initiatives aimed at protecting the well-being of minors and eliminating divisive diversity programs on college campuses, as the governor prepares for an anticipated presidential run. The proposals have successfully cleared separate committees, but will need to gain approval from both the full House and Senate chambers.
DeSantis has been pursuing a strong conservative agenda on matters of race, gender, and education, cementing his position as one of the most admired Republicans in the nation. These latest moves are seen as a continuation of his unwavering commitment to conservative principles, further solidifying his base of support and propelling him towards a possible presidential run.
DeSantis’ push to eliminate diversity programs and ban gender affirming care for minors has received support from the Republican supermajority in the statehouse, which is poised to approve virtually all of his priorities during this year’s legislative session. These policy wins could prove advantageous for the governor as he gears up for an expected presidential run. DeSantis has been a vocal critic of DEI programs in colleges and Critical Race Theory, characterizing them as divisive and discriminatory. The governor held a roundtable discussion to further emphasize his stance, denouncing the “woke” ideology he believes is pervasive in education.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is making waves with his aggressive conservative agenda on race, gender and education, which includes banning gender-affirming care for minors and eliminating diversity programs in colleges.
“These initiatives are part of DeSantis’ platform for an expected presidential run and are poised to gain approval from the full House and Senate chambers with the backing of the Republican supermajority,” reports the Associated Press.
In an effort to combat what he calls “woke” ideology in education, DeSantis held a roundtable discussion to criticize diversity programs as racially divisive and discriminatory, stating that “Florida students will receive an education, not a political indoctrination.”
“Florida students will receive an education, not a political indoctrination.” stated DeSantis.
The proposal would prohibit colleges from using state or federal funding for diversity, equity and inclusion programs and would prevent schools from including Critical Race Theory or other theories in their curricula. In addition, universities would be able to conduct post-tenure reviews of faculty at any time for cause, in addition to a required review every five years.
DeSantis is positioning himself as a leading critic of diversity, equity and inclusion programs in colleges, as well as Critical Race Theory, a way of thinking about American history through the lens of racism. His conservative policies and stance have earned him widespread support among Republicans, making him one of the most popular GOP politicians in the country.
Critics have voiced concerns that the proposed bill “would disadvantage college students when they seek employment after graduation, could endanger accreditation of Florida courses and would stifle academic freedom on campuses,” according to ABC News.
Democratic Representative Anna Eskamani also criticized the bill, stating “It’s not the responsibility of the state to define or dictate what we can or cannot learn. That is our choice, especially as adults within higher ed institutions.”
Eskamani further added, “Why are we scared of these topics? Why do we not want adults like me in public universities who choose to learn about these theories to have an opportunity to learn about it, to question it, to debate it?”
The theory of Critical Race Theory, developed during the 1970s and 1980s, centers on the idea that “racism is systemic in the nation’s institutions, which function to maintain the dominance of white people in society,” as explained by ABC News.
“Last year, the governor signed the Stop WOKE Act, which limits certain race-based discussions and analyses in schools and businesses. The law prohibits instruction that suggests that members of one race are inherently racist or should feel guilty for the actions of others in the same race, among other things.
During a Senate committee hearing, dozens of transgender individuals, parents of transgender children, and their supporters spoke out against the proposed bill that would ban gender-affirming care for minors.
Critics argued that the measure would increase suicide rates, depression, and anxiety and would do more harm than good.
Democratic lawmakers claimed that their Republican counterparts were supporting government interference in private conversations between families and their doctors, and were stripping families of their ability to care for their children.
Democratic Sen. Tracie Davis directed her comments towards those who testified in support of the bill, stating, “What we have done with this legislation is to vilify who you are. There are children out there who believe they are better off dead because of the lack of support, and all you said today is say, ‘Love me as I am.'”
“Every person was created with extraordinary worth, incredible value and a unique purpose from the time they were created. You can’t change that,” Yarborough said. “We need to let kids be kids, and our laws need to set appropriate boundaries that respect the rights and responsibilities of parents while protecting children.”