A bill that would actually allow Critical Race Theory (CRT) to be pushed on every public school in the country has finally been exposed for what it is by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R).
In a statement June 30, DeSantis’ office released the positive results of Florida’s 2022 civics assessments since a major update to the state’s civics standards that emphasizes the exceptional nature of the American founding and Constitution.
Gov. Ron DeSantis Announces Florida’s Improved Civics Literacy Rates https://t.co/GWPXtmfuoE
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) June 30, 2022
The governor’s office noted efforts to further expand the civics initiative “come as Congress considers the misleadingly titled ‘Civics Secures Democracy Act,’ which would allow the Biden administration to buy off states with $6 billion if they sacrifice American History for Critical Race Theory and Biden’s other political whims of the day.”
“While the Biden administration is seeking to award grants to indoctrinate students with ideologies like Critical Race Theory, in Florida we have focused on Civics Excellence, teaching accurate American History without an ideological agenda,” DeSantis said. “Our students and teachers have worked hard to elevate their Civics Excellence and are proving to the nation that Florida is the national model for cultivating great citizens.”
DeSantis noted Florida’s students’ civic literacy has generally improved from 2021 to 2022, with nearly three-fourths of students scoring at or above Level 3 in Civics in 2022, an increase of five percentage points from 2021.
Additionally, all student subgroups either maintained their performance at Level 3 or moved above it in social studies, with African American students showing the largest increases in both social studies and science performance.
As columnist Stanley Kurtz wrote Tuesday at National Review, DeSantis broke the “silence” of Republican lawmakers on the Civics Secures Democracy Act (CSDA) legislation that is being co-sponsored by GOP Senators John Cornyn (TX), James Inhofe (OK), and Bill Cassidy (LA).
Cornyn recently drew a firestorm of criticism from conservative Republicans after leading a bipartisan group in the U.S. Senate to push through gun control legislation that, he claimed, “will save lives while placing no new restrictions on law-abiding gun owners.”
These “naïve” Republican senators, Kurtz said, have been “seduced by the lure of what they think is good old-fashioned ‘civics,’” when what they are really supporting is “a series of baited hooks.”
“It’s not as though Cornyn is unaware of the dangers of his bill,” attorney and education policy researcher Jane Robbins wrote at the Federalist. “He has surely read the warnings – including one from the respected National Association of Scholars – that the bill is a Trojan horse for leftist propaganda.”
Robbins explained further, however:
But rejecting the apparently inconceivable possibility that the Biden Education Department might be using him to advance its woke agenda, he misstates the grant provisions of his own bill (mistakenly claiming that they allow no bureaucratic discretion in awarding grants) and that, in any event, there’s nothing to worry about since his bill includes a clause saying the federal government isn’t authorized to control curriculum.
Cornyn responded to criticisms of his bill, arguing they amount to “false, hysterical claims” that are “untrue and worthy of a Russian active measures campaign, not a serious discussion.”
The false, hysterical claims are untrue and worthy of a Russian active measures campaign, not a serious discussion of our bill.
— Senator John Cornyn (@JohnCornyn) June 20, 2022
Kurtz observed what the “lure” of federal grants does to states that might be inclined to follow Florida’s lead to provide sound and accurate American civics education, but may also be tempted by an influx of federal cash – money that comes, however, with “strings attached by Biden’s leftist bureaucrats.”
“On top of that, CSDA’s state grants are tied to student performance on a national test, which gives the designers of the federal test (who are chosen by Biden) de facto control over state standards and curricula,” Kurtz pointed out, adding the current situation with CSDA is a mirror-image of the Obama-championed Common Core State Standards debacle:
Obama stuffed a lavishly funded federal grant program called Race to the Top into his 2009 stimulus bill. No one noticed at the time, but those grants soon transformed American education by stripping the states of their curricular autonomy. Obama made acceptance of Common Core a condition of applying for Race to the Top money. Cash-strapped states quickly complied, thereby sacrificing the lion’s share of control over their own curricular content. CSDA works the same way. To get the latest tranche of fat federal education grants, states will have to please bureaucrats who we already know — from Biden’s 2021 rule and a series of other signals — strongly favor CRT.
Kurtz noted the CSDA battle “is also a window onto the struggle to define the Republican Party.”
“Two of the bill’s Republican co-sponsors have led pushes for bipartisan legislation, Cornyn on guns and Cassidy on infrastructure,” he observed, noting that, thus far, only former President Donald Trump, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and now DeSantis, have come out publicly in opposition to the CRT legislation.
“Should CSDA become law, whether Republicans take Congress in 2022 or not, Biden will have de facto control of America’s education system until the end of his term,” Kurtz explained. “This is madness, and political suicide, too. What will happen when the Republican base wakes up to find that our own senators have delivered America’s schools into the hands of CRT propagandists?”
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Susan Berry, PhD, is national education editor at The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]