The Far Right Take-Over of Florida Schools
Nov. 8, 2022 School Board Elections
. School Board elections are traditionally nonpartisan but DeSantis endorsed consevative school board members, All six school board members endorsed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, a total of 24 board members out of 30 local education candidates DeSantis backed this year.
National conservative groups poured money into local school board races. For example, the conservatiove1776 Project PAC endorsed more than 100 school board candidates in a number of states, including Florida.
Far-right group Moms for Liberty poised to clash with teachers unions over school board races nationwide.
PBS NewsHour Jun 30, 2023
In the past few years, many Republican-led states have enacted new laws rolling back the teaching of race and LGBTQ+ rights in classrooms and banning books on those subjects. And in many cases, the push for these new restrictions is driven by one organization, Moms for Liberty. Laura Barrón-López discussed the group and its influence with David Gilbert of Vice News.
Moms for Liberty started with three Florida moms fighting COVID-19 restrictions in 2021. It has quickly ascended as a national player in Republican politics, helped along the way by the board’s political training and close relationships with high-profile GOP groups and lawmakers. The group’s support for school choice and the “fundamental rights of parents” to direct their children’s education has drawn allies such as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a leading GOP presidential contender, and the conservative Heritage Foundation.
The group has been labeled an “extremist” organization by the Southern Poverty Law Center for allegedly harassing community members, advancing anti-LGBTQ+ misinformation and fighting to scrub diverse and inclusive material from lesson plans. - Far-right group Moms for Liberty poised to clash with teachers unions over school board races nationwide | PBS NewsHour
State legislation was passed that allowed Gov. Ron DeSantis to take control of Florida’s high school athletics association, which had always be independent. This is just one example.
According to Rep. Anna Eskamani of Orlando, who was the South Shore Democratic Club guest speaker in July, 2023, when addressing the takeover of traditionally indepentent entities,
“It’s not only about consolidating power, but it’s about controlling the narrative,”
March 27, 2023
The Hillsborough County School Board votes to ban the book "This Book is Gay" from middle school libraries.
March 31, 2023
The Florida House, led by Gov. DeSantis, passed a measure to create partisan school elections. School board elections have been nonpartisan since 1998.
The vote was strictly along party lines, 79-34, to approve a proposed constitutional amendment (HJR 31), to hold partisan school-board elections.
April 19, 2023
The Florida Board of Education approved a ban on classroom instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity in all grades, expanding the “Don’t Say Gay” law.
Florida reverses ban on AP psychology courses. Advanced Placement psychology couses has been banned due to material relevant to the "Don't Say Gay" law, but now Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. sent an email to school superintendents giving them the green light that “AP Psychology may be taught in its entirety.”
The education fight: Ron DeSantis, Florida school board politics and Proud Boys | States of America
USA Today: "Governor Ron DeSantis has overhauled the way race and LGBTQ issues are discussed in public schools in Florida, and the fight has engaged right wing power players including the Proud Boys, Moms for Liberty and Michael Flynn. Last year DeSantis passed two controversial bills: the Stop WOKE Act and a bill nicknamed ‘Don’t Say Gay’. Democrats and Republicans have fired up parents on all sides of the debate and school board meetings in Florida have turned into partisan politics free-for-alls. In partnership with Zac Anderson of the Sarasota-Herald Tribune, we find out what’s at the root of the fight over public education."
WFLA News Channel 8
Hillsborough school board votes to ban 'This Book Is Gay' from middle school libraries
Mar 28, 2023
The Hillsborough County School Board held a special meeting on Tuesday and voted to ban a book from all public middle schools in the area.
'Freedom Library' gives access to banned books in Florida schools
Apr 4, 2023
"National and Tampa Bay area education leaders joined the NAACP Hillsborough for the grand opening of the Freedom Library on Tuesday evening. The library is located inside of Beulah Baptist Institutional Church in Tampa. The space has around 500 books, including some that are currently banned by the state. “We fight for people's civil rights and we feel like our kid's civil rights have been taken from them," Yvette Lewis with NAACP Hillsborough said."
Florida has banned Advanced Placement Psychology classes in the state due to the course's content on sexual orientation and gender identity. The state's Department of Education informed the College Board that its AP Psychology class is in violation of state law, according to the education nonprofit. NBC News' Guad Venegas has more.