The State Board of Education is set to meet in Jacksonville Thursday to discuss, among other things, a controversial change to Florida’s history curriculum that critics say would make it difficult for teachers to accurately discuss slavery and the genocide of Native people.
Gov. Ron DeSantis has said he wants to prevent the teaching of critical race theory.
Duval County school board member Lori Hershey agrees.
“The core idea of critical race theory is that racism is a social construct and it’s embedded in legal systems and policy,” she said.
“We’re at a time in our nation that I really think we need to stay away from theories that are divisive in the classroom, and particularly theories that tend to lean more towards a political perspective, and lean towards indoctrination of students in a specific political mindset,” said Hershey, who has also filed to run as a Republican in the District 16 state Senate race.
Critical race theory is not taught in any Florida K-12 schools. But Hershey said she saw a trend in that direction, and she thought the rule would prevent that.
In an email, the state Department of Education told the News Service of Florida, “It is important to understand that Florida schools are a place that students are taught how to think, not what to think, and discuss the founding principles of our nation, not disseminate propaganda.”
Florida’s largest teachers union, the Florida Education Association, opposes the rule.
WJCT News reached out to all seven Duval County school board members, and received no other responses about the proposed rule. Any additional responses that are received will be added to this story.
The Education Board will meet at Florida State College at Jacksonville at 9 a.m.
Correction: Due to an editor's error, an earlier version of this story stated Hershey is running for the District 6 Senate seat. She is running for the District 16 Senate seat.
Contact Sydney Boles at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at @sydneyboles.