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At a Monday press conference, Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) unveiled a new direction for his education policies. He took aim at the politicization of teachers’ unions and the indoctrination of students with “political agendas” and “ideological material.”

During the conference, DeSantis announced a proposal for “teacher empowerment” legislation according to Florida’s Voice News that is set to include billions of dollars in pay increases for Florida educators alongside a move to stop automatic union deductions from their paychecks.

The state-wide outlet reported that DeSantis said his administration is working to increase funding for educators’ salaries by a billion dollars for 2023. This would bring the total increase since 2020 to $3 Billion.

The proposal is also set to ensure that employees of the teachers’ union will never make more money than the highest-paid teacher.

“You should not make any more than what the highest paid teacher is making […] The teachers are making half that amount of money. How is that fair?” he said according to Florida’s Voice.

He also announced a proposal to stop union dues from being automatically deducted from teachers’ salaries saying, “First of all, you totally, you do not have to join teachers union. But if you do, the government, we don’t want to play a role in deducting anybody’s money so you write every month for the dues and you do it that way.”

DeSantis added, “You should not have the school be a focus of school union politics, and politicking and handing out literature […] Not on the public’s time.”

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The governor also told reporters that the legislation will act as a de facto “teachers’ bill of rights,” designed to support teachers who “do their job well,” and guarantee they are “protected without fear of any reprisals.”

“We will be establishing a new process for individuals to notify the state if a teacher’s rights have been violated, and we will ensure that our Florida Department of Education can investigate those complaints very quickly,” DeSantis said according to Florida’s Voice News.


He further added that he doesn’t want disruptions to the educational experience and wants to empower educators to keep their classrooms a safe environment for learning.

DeSantis explained,

“Teachers should not be at fault if you have kids fighting or being disruptive, you know, a teacher has every right to ensure discipline. And to ensure a safe learning environment. I think sometimes teachers feel they will end up being the bad guy, just by making sure that the kids are behaving, we want to make sure that teachers are protected. I mean, honestly, it shouldn’t even be up, you know, their role to have to do this. But that’s we see that that’s something that happens, because we have discipline that that probably isn’t where it needs to be.”

Just last Thursday, DeSantis made headlines when the Florida Department of Education rejected the College Board’s AP African American Studies on the grounds that the coursework “lacked educational value and historical accuracy” according to another report from Florida’s Voice News.

“As submitted, the course is a vehicle for a political agenda and leaves large, ambiguous gaps that can be filled with additional ideological material, which we will not allow,” Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Press Secretary Bryan Griffin told reporters. “As Governor DeSantis has stated, our classrooms will be a place for education, not indoctrination.”

During the press conference Monday he was questioned on this by reporters and explained his reasoning at length,

“It’s not fair to say that somehow abolishing prisons is somehow linked to black experience and that’s what black people want. I don’t think that’s true at all. I think they want law and order just like anyone else wants law and order. So that is more of ideology being used under the guise of history and we want to do history. That’s what our standards for black history are. It’s just cut-and-dried history. You learn all the basics, you learn about the great figures.I view it as American history, I don’t view it as separate history.”

Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. told the gathered reporters that “When you are at a school you’re in the business of teaching and learning and not in the business of politics […] All of that stuff should be kept out of the school building,” according to Florida’s Voice News.

Turning to DeSantis he said, “Despite some of these myths and narratives, you’re definitely the ‘Education Governor’ and you continue to lead, thank you, Governor DeSantis.”

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