In his latest move in the culture wars, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced on Tuesday plans to block state colleges from having programs on diversity, equity and inclusion, and critical race theory. Debuting the proposal as part of a larger legislative package for higher education, the Republican governor is expected to face opposition from both independents and moderate voters in both parties.
Critical race theory, developed by scholars in the 1970s and 1980s, is a way of examining America’s history through the lens of racism and is centered on the idea that racism is systemic in America’s institutions. The governor’s proposal “raises the standards of learning and civil discourse of public higher education in Florida” by “prohibiting higher education institutions from using any funding, regardless of source, to support DEI, CRT, and other discriminatory initiatives,” according to a statement from the governor’s office.
The announcement coincides with DeSantis’ plans to transform New College of Florida into a “classical” liberal arts school with the help of the newly conservative majority on the board of trustees, most of whom he recently appointed. The governor is also pushing for education administrators to realign courses to provide historically accurate information and to not include identity politics.
Dozens of students rallied outside the New College of Florida to protest against the major changes to the school’s mission. Meanwhile, former President Donald Trump recently unveiled his own education plan promising to cut federal funding for any school or program that includes critical race theory or other “inappropriate racial, sexual, or political content.”