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Gov. DeSantis announces civics education initiative to combat 'politicized academic fads'

The governor says the new curriculum would not include what he describes as "unsanctioned narratives" like critical race theory.

NAPLES, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis announced a new $106 million proposal Wednesday aimed at making Florida the national leader in civics education.

If it moved forward, the program would change our current civics curriculum in order to teach students the "foundational principles" of our country and our society without "politicized academic fads," according to the governor. 

DeSantis said educators would be given more resources and support in order to encourage a stronger civics curriculum. These resources would include training courses, both in-person and online, that teachers can take to earn a Florida civics seal of excellence, which could get them a $3,000 bonus, the governor added.

Gov. DeSantis said the new civics courses would exclude what he describes as "unsanctioned narratives" like critical race theory and other "unsubstantiated theories."

"Teaching kids to hate their country and to hate each other is not worth one red cent of taxpayer money," DeSantis said.

But others disagree with the Governor's proposal saying the civics training could change how race is talked about in schools.

"Critical race theory is teaching every aspect of every part of race. Teaching it and nothing's left out, so you're giving the whole part of history. Every person or every race, you know, they played a part in it. So it's giving that theory so everybody can understand it," Yvette Lewis, the President of the Hillsborough NAACP said.

Lewis says adding race theory would help Florida's education curriculum.

"It's really important because every race plays an important part of our everyday lives. Whether we recognize it or not. For DeSantis to say this, yeah, it's bothersome," Lewis said.

The governor said he hopes to inspire the next generation of public servants and state leaders by giving students more opportunities for hands-on learning.

DeSantis emphasized the importance of students understanding the duties of citizenship, especially in a time of "political bitterness" where people are "very polarized one way or the other." He also criticized other states' curriculums, saying they are often based on "ideology and not actual facts."

The governor mentioned that the program would eventually include a test, similar to the citizenship test, that all high school seniors would have to pass in order to graduate.

During the news conference, Gov. DeSantis mentioned his proposal to give $1,000 bonuses to EMTs, law enforcement officers, and firefighters.

"Some want to defund the police, we want to refund the police in Florida," DeSantis said.

He also mentioned that he fully-funded Bright Futures in his budget, as he supports the program and he hopes that the state Legislature will follow suit. This comes after a Republican senator introduced a bill that would limit or eliminate Bright Futures scholarship funding for students with majors that don't lead "directly to employment." 

You can watch the full news conference below.

RELATED: DeSantis wants to give Florida's first responders a $1,000 bonus

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