Ron DeSantis is advocating for significant changes that have drawn criticism from many. In a recent interview on Fox News, the Florida governor and Republican presidential candidate expressed his intention to eliminate the U.S. Department of Education. Alternatively, he plans to repurpose the department to address what he refers to as “woke ideology.”
Furthermore, DeSantis pledged to reduce the size and reach of the government by eliminating the Department of Commerce, the Department of Energy, and the IRS. His rationale behind this decision is to counter what he perceives as an encroachment of left-wing ideology into various aspects of American society.
DeSantis outlined his strategy, explaining that if Congress does not support his efforts to dismantle these agencies, he would repurpose them to counter what he deems as woke ideology. In the case of the Department of Education, he intends to reverse policies related to transgender sports and curriculum changes. He also plans to establish a revised accreditation system for higher education, which he believes would counteract the promotion of concepts such as diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and critical race theory (CRT).
While DeSantis views Florida as a testing ground for his stance against woke ideology, critics argue that his policies have had negative consequences for the state’s residents. For instance, he has clashed with the College Board, resulting in changes to the African American Studies curriculum that were perceived as diluting its content. Additionally, DeSantis has appointed individuals aligned with his campaign donors and associates to influential positions on boards such as the Florida Board of Medicine and New College Board of Trustees. Furthermore, he has implemented bans on Diversity, Education, and Inclusion programs in higher education, as well as restricted the teaching of race and gender-related topics. Notably, DeSantis made it compulsory for all students to take a course on “Western civilization.”
These policies have prompted concerns among educators, with some resorting to covering books in their classrooms to avoid potential legal repercussions. In a recent incident, an entire school district prohibited a children’s book on segregation following a single parental complaint. Additionally, the “Don’t Say Gay” law now prohibits discussions about race and sexuality in all grade levels across the state.
Critics argue that DeSantis is utilizing Florida as a testing ground for his extreme policies that disproportionately impact marginalized communities. Furthermore, his aspirations for the presidency indicate a determination to expand these policies nationwide.