Ron DeSantis, Fort Myers, FL
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Photo credit: South Florida Water Management District / Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Gov. Ron DeSantis supposedly abhors indoctrination in Florida’s schools. But he doesn’t mind some taxpayer-funded brainwashing of educators so they can shape little red-blooded patriots accordingly.

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has made the fight against “indoctrination” in education a cornerstone of his administration as well as his presidential ambitions. But, upon closer examination, DeSantis doesn’t actually seem to mind indoctrination… as long as it’s the right kind. Literally.

And he is even getting Florida taxpayers to pay for it.

Over the past couple of years, DeSantis built his brand on fighting “wokeness,” and that includes high-profile actions like signing Florida’s “Don’t say gay” law or blocking a high school Advanced Placement course on African American studies.

In each case, he claimed to be motivated by fighting indoctrination. That resonated with conservatives who don’t want their kids to learn about things like sexual orientation or the US’s sordid role in slavery.

As a result, DeSantis became a darling of the right, a Fox News sensation, and, if Donald Trump is eaten by a bear, he could even win the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

There is just one problem with that narrative (alas, not one his supporters will mind): The Florida governor is actually a big proponent of indoctrination as long as the end result is that students become proud little patriots who embrace a Judeo-Christian, conservative view of the world.

Case in point is Florida’s civics education program that DeSantis touted yesterday.

Teachers who complete a two-month, state-run civics course can earn an extra $3,000. Seeing how most careers in education aren’t exactly lucrative, that’s a welcome bonus for teachers. And the only downside to taking the course is that it comes with some light brainwashing.

Because, as it turns out, that new civics class seems to have an agenda that aligns with the governor’s own ideology.

Specifically, Florida’s civics initiative promotes a Christian view of the world, according to many educators. That shouldn’t come as a surprise as many of the people who worked on developing it are employed by religious schools like Hillsdale College and George Fox University.

“It was very skewed,” said Barbara Segal, who teaches government at Fort Lauderdale High School. “There was a very strong Christian fundamentalist way toward analyzing different quotes and different documents.”

It is surprising that Florida is spending so much money on indoctrinating teachers. After all, the state has already tied their hands with regard to what they can teach.

For example, legislation DeSantis signed into law last year mandates that students should not be instructed in a way that they “must feel guilt, anguish, or other forms of psychological distress for actions, in which he or she played no part, committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex.”

If you are wondering what that’s all about, then let us spell it out for you: s-l-a-v-e-r-y.

And that’s exactly what state-funded indoctrination looks like.


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