Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced in a press conference on Wednesday a “first of its kind in the nation” legislation to combat both woke corporations and Marxist ideologies such as Critical Race Theory (CRT) in schools and places of employment across the state.
In the past, Gov. DeSantis has targeted CRT, noting correctly that it is “based on false history when they try to look back and denigrate the Founding Fathers, denigrate the American Revolution, doing all these different things that even very liberal historians say is not supported by the facts,” he said during a press conference in Pensacola in May, adding that civics “needs to be taught in a fact-based way. Not an ideological-based way, and if we have to play whack-a-mole all over this state, stopping this Critical Race Theory, we will do it.”
Hence, the Stop Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees Act (Stop W.O.K.E Act), dubbed the “first legislation of its kind in the nation, going on the offense against both corporate wokeness and critical race theory in our schools,” according to the governor’s office.
Under the legislation, CRT training would be considered an “unlawful employment practice,” making it “clear that corporations and public sector employers violate the Florida Civil Rights Act when they subject their employees to training that espouses race or sex stereotyping or scapegoating including critical race theory.”
It also considers CRT discriminatory in the realm of education, stopping what his office describes as “indoctrination in the guise of professional development, and requires districts and schools to adhere to professional development frameworks consistent with Florida’s lawful and publicly adopted state standards.” The measure would also solidify the Florida Board of Education’s previous actions, making them law “to guard students against indoctrinating curriculum.”
Additionally, the Stop WOKE Act:
- Gives employees a clearer path to a private cause of action against discrimination in the workplace;
- Improves a private cause of action for parents and students against indoctrinating practices K-20;
- Protects teachers who are trying to do the right thing and pushing back against unlawful mandates from their elected district leadership; and
- Gives the State Board of Education enforcement authority in K-12 settings.
“It’s based on historical falsehoods,” DeSantis said of CRT earlier this year, noting that it is “offensive” to have taxpayers fund the teaching of the dark, divisive, and false ideology.
“I mean, first of all, it’s offensive — here we are celebrating tax savings — it’s offensive to the taxpayer that they would be asked to fund critical race theory,” DeSantis said at the time, adding that they are essentially being asked to “fund teaching kids to hate their country and to hate each other.”