New Delhi: A Bill filed in the Florida House of Representatives this week proposes a ban on any educational degree focussed on gender studies, intersectionality or critical race theory (CRT) in the US state’s public university system.
It has also proposed a ban on the consideration of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the appointment of faculty.
These measures in the curriculum in Florida appear to be a part of a larger campaign by a conservative governor, Ron DeSantis, to root out alleged liberal bias in the state’s education systems and ensure young Americans are “grounded in western civilisation”.
Ron DeSantis is expected to launch his 2024 US Presidential bid and is touted to be the favourite among the Republicans, who prefer him over Donald Trump as their nominee.
“In Florida, we will build off of our higher education reforms by aligning core curriculum to the values of liberty and the western tradition,” DeSantis had said in January.
He also announced a series of reforms in higher education in January this year, including banning DEI programmes along with diversity offices.
According to the governor, the move would “promote academic excellence, the pursuit of truth, and give students the foundation to think for themselves.”
Also Read: US companies trying to woo IAF, but here’s why it’s never inducted an American fighter
A Republican presidential nominee?
DeSantis has emerged as a leader among California Republicans over former US President Donald Trump for the party’s 2024 Presidential nomination, according to a poll by The Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies released Friday.
The poll suggested that a lot of Conservatives are prepared to move on from Trump and choose DeSantis in a head-to-head Presidential match. He also has a higher favourability rating among Republicans compared to Trump.
About 37 per cent of Grand Old Party voters supported DeSantis, while 29 per cent preferred Trump, according to the poll co-sponsored by the Los Angeles Times.
As DeSantis started to lay the groundwork for the Presidential race, his measures even made Trump attack him directly. “Ron would have not been Governor if it wasn’t for me… when I hear he might run, I consider that very disloyal,” Trump was quoted as saying.
Also Read: How US Republican senator’s call to assassinate Putin shows deep divisions in party
DeSantis against ‘Woke agenda’
In addition to supporting measures to outlaw “indoctrination” and “ideology” in the state curriculum, DeSantis has often said he would oppose censorship directed at Floridians by major internet corporations and social media platforms.
According to him, education in Florida should be “based in the ideals of liberty and the western culture”, and public institutions should not “sponsor campus activities or programmes that promote” ostensibly contentious ideas, like CRT or DEI.
The new legislation, if passed in the Republican-controlled legislature, would extend the “2022 Stop W.O.K.E (Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees) Act”.
DeSantis signed this into law, which essentially prohibits instruction on race relations or diversity that imply that a person’s status as either privileged or oppressed is determined by his or her race, colour, national origin, or sex.
He has been quoted as saying: “They will also do things like require diversity statements…but that’s basically like making people take a political oath… That you have to embrace things like critical theory, like the idea of implicit bias and all of those other things, and that’s just not appropriate.”
(Edited by Richa Mishra)
Also Read: How Tucker Carlson became poster boy of Trumpism in post-Trump America, and No.1 TV news host