Amid a nationwide teacher shortage, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is lauding the Sunshine State as “the place where woke goes to die.”
“Obviously, in the classroom, we’ve battled a lot of ideologies,” the conservative governor and likely Republican presidential contender said during a press conference Tuesday. “What I’ve said is the state of Florida is the place where woke goes to die. We are not going to let this state descend into some type of woke dumpster fire. We’re going to be following common sense, we’re going to be following facts.”
DeSantis’ remarks come while the U.S. is grappling with a nationwide shortage of teachers and educational workers as students return to the classroom following summer breaks.
Rebecca Pringle, the president of the National Education Association, the largest teachers’ union in the country, recently told ABC News there is a current need for about 300,000 teachers.
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“We have a crisis in the number of students who are going into the teaching profession and the number of teachers who are leaving it,” she told the network. “But, of course, as with everything else, the pandemic just made it worse.”
DeSantis, however, sees another issue: the leftist ideologies infused into public school curricula.
“I think these schools of education and the specific way they go about, I don’t think is the right way to do it,” said the governor. “I don’t think these schools have proven to be effective. I think what you do is you get people that have proficiency in core academic disciplines, then you have them go in. But trying to teach them at certain schools of education, I think that’s been overtaken by ideology. I think that’s a turn-off for a lot of people.”
In the past, education hasn’t been a hot-button political issue. But, thanks in part to the rise in watchdog social media accounts like Libs of TikTok, exposing the leftist ideologies of many educators in the public school system, as well as some teachers’ embrace of critical race theory, it has quickly become one.
When voters were asked by the Pew Research Center in 2020 what issues were most important to them in the presidential election, education wasn’t even in the top 12. Just one year later, at the height of Virginia’s gubernatorial race, voters in the Old Dominion told Monmouth’s Polling Institute education ranked in their top three concerns.
It was education alone, in fact, that seemingly won the race for now-Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R), who emerged victorious after Democratic opponent and former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said during a debate, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”
As for DeSantis, earlier this year, he signed a parental rights bill into law, barring public school educators from teaching children in pre-K through third grade about sexual orientation and gender identity.
“Our mantra has been, in our schools, to educate kids, not indoctrinate kids,” he said. “Hopefully, what we’re doing is saying that teaching is not about learning ‘education in college or university,’ it’s really about having proficiency in subjects, then learning on the ground about how to do it.”
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