Republicans dominate the Legislature in Florida and many other states because they have long understood something the Democrats have missed.
Govt. Ron DeSantis and GOP state lawmakers affect citizen rights in Florida far more than the president Joe Biden or what is it called from Mar-a-Lago. I suspect many voters on the left or even center can’t even name their senator or representative, let alone know what they’re doing in Tallahassee and why it matters.
Republicans made their constituents care about these things. The Democrats have not been so successful.
This brings us to the Guv’s latest populist move to create a dragon so he can slay it. I refer to DeSantis Education Program.
At first glance, it looks like Hizzoner will be banging erasers on the heads of snobby snobby snobs and awake intellectual teachers to make sure the forces of darkness don’t indoctrinate the little darlings of the state.
But, let’s explore this a little deeper, shall we?
Key to the agenda is DeSantis’ vow to “put students first” and “protect parents’ rights” on the front lines of education.
Who could dispute that?
I know many teachers and more than a few on this subject. My eldest son and his wife are teachers, and my wife worked at the front desk of a local high school until her retirement. I can tell you this: along with thousands of fellow teachers, they would welcome parental involvement.
They crave it.
Too often, however, this does not happen. Or when it does, it often results in parents shouting abuse at over-stressed instructors.
Too many parents don’t show up for teacher conferences. Their children come to class without having finished their homework or the motivation to learn. Too many kids are more interested in texting their phones than finishing their homework.
If the parents’ little darlings fail – which is hard to do in Florida – they will blame the teacher.
What if we protected the rights of teachers?
But no. It would be too logical.
Instead, DeSantis has a 10-point plan that combines common sense with political bluster. It’s too much of the last and not enough of the first.
Remember, though, what I said about the effect state lawmakers have on the lives of ordinary Floridians? DeSantis now wants to get deep into local school board races. His agenda is a litmus test he wants to apply to anyone who shows up for these councils.
The Governor’s plan emphasizes solid civic education, which is good even if it is already being taught. He gets no extra credit for demanding that schools do something they already do.
He wants to increase teachers’ salaries and continue to support school safety and mental health initiatives. Great ideas. DeSantis also wants to expand workforce development and technical training, which are fabulous goals. Go ahead, Guv.
But he couldn’t resist the urge to swing at the piñata known as public education.
It demands that candidates reject the use of critical race theory in Florida classrooms, which should be easy since SCHOOLS DON’T TEACH IT!!!!!!!!!!
The governor’s agenda states that schools should “educate, not indoctrinate” and “keep woke gender ideology out of schools.”
This too should be easy. With all the state requirements on what students must learn, there is no time for indoctrination.
But, for now, let’s play the game.
Let’s say that the subject of the January 6 insurrection is broached. There are not two sides to this story. The attackers were criminals bent on creating havoc and teaching what is not indoctrination.
Teaching students to use their brains for something other than Instagram is not indoctrination.
You can call it civility.
Teacher: “Yes, students, it’s not legal to break the windows of the United States Capitol and try to hang the vice president because your favorite candidate lost the election.”
Student: ‘But Fox News said radical left fixed machines to change votes from MAGA man to illegally elected Biden.’
Teacher: “Fox News is wrong.”
However, I have no doubt that the current GOP ideal would be for the teacher to respond instead, “Well, Johnny, that’s an interesting point of view (debunked eight trillion times). Thank you for sharing.”
Yes, the Republicans did their homework and figured out where they could have the most influence. All politics is local, and it does not become more local than the neighborhood school.
You knew this had to happen eventually.