Emily Cardenas

Emily Cardenas, The Miami Times Executive Editor

Watch out. The Republicans are at it again – putting their nose into the classroom and trying to tell teachers how to teach.

Worse than that, it’s indoctrination they’re after, to grow little Republicans from the earliest of ages.

Officially, the State Board of Education (BOE) will consider adopting a proposal on Wednesday aimed at reshaping the way civic education is taught in public schools, culminating an effort set in motion by lawmakers this spring.

Those changes to inject patriotism into the curriculum was a priority of top Republican lawmakers and Gov. Ron DeSantis during the legislative session that ended April 30.

On the face of it, you might say, what’s wrong with teaching children to take pride in their country? Well, a lot.

By definition, patriotism or national pride is the feeling of love, devotion and sense of attachment to a homeland or country – and alliance with other citizens who share the same sentiment – to create a feeling of oneness among its people.

People feel differently about their country depending on their experience, and Black and brown people haven’t always had the greatest experience. We need to make allowances for everyone’s feelings about their country; forcing blind patriotism on children will not buy their allegiance.

DeSantis signed a measure (HB 5) into law in June that called for giving Florida students an “understanding of the civic-minded expectations, developed by the State BOE, of an upright and desirable citizenry that recognizes and accepts responsibility for preserving and defending the blessings of liberty inherited from prior generations and secured by the United States Constitution.”

Desirable citizenry is a loaded phrase. One that doesn’t ask questions and does as its told, perhaps? Or at least doesn’t question Republican governors? The blessings of liberty? Not all of us are equally blessed.

Well, the proposal says that such a desirable citizen should display “personal responsibility, civility and respect in political, social and religious discourse and lawful civic engagement.”

Perhaps DeSantis needs to look in the mirror and ask himself if he is a desirable citizen by his own definition.

A proposed rule that the state board will also consider Wednesday, in part, deals with directing the state BOE to require students to understand America’s founding documents.

“Understanding the Bill of Rights, understanding other key amendments to the Constitution, understanding the differences between (the) federal and state Constitution … are fundamental,” DeSantis said during a bill-signing event.

I quite agree. Understanding American’s founding documents and laws are fundamental to raising an educated electorate that will turn Florida blue.

Emily Cardenas is the executive editor of The Miami Times. She previously worked as a producer at WTXF in Philadelphia and at WSCV, WFOR and WPLG in Miami.

Load comments