DORAL, FLORIDA — Governor Ron DeSantis stopped in Doral on Sunday as part of his Education Agenda Tour. He spoke about various topics related to Florida’s Education Agenda, including the new program encouraging veterans to apply for teaching certificates and COVID-19 policy that stifled classroom learning over the past two years.
“November’s going to be important, but we’ve got some work to do this Tuesday,” DeSantis said as he introduced school board candidates that he has chosen personally – an unprecedented move that has caused controversy. The role of politics in public schools has “certainly been amped up,” according to Andrea Messina, CEO of Florida School Boards Association.
“The increased polarization in school boards really reflects an increased polarization in communities across our country,” she told WLRN in July.
GRAND JURY RECOMMENDS REMOVAL
On Friday, a Florida grand jury recommended that DeSantis remove four members of the Broward County school board from office. The grand jury, empaneled after the 2018 school massacre, wrote that district administrators displayed “deceit, malfeasance, misfeasance, neglect of duty and incompetence” in handling a campus safety program.
In the 122-page report, the panel recommended removing Broward County district school board members Patricia Good, Donna Korn, Ann Murray, and Laurie Rich Levinson. Rosalind Osgood, a former member, was also named, but she is now a member of the Florida Senate.
Former Broward Superintendent Robert Runcie resigned last year after being indicted for allegedly lying to the grand jury. Broward County’s district is the sixth-largest nationally, with more than 27,000 students.
"EDUCATING, NOT INDOCTRINATING”
In Doral on Sunday, the governor encouraged a cheerful crowd to get out and vote this Tuesday, emphasizing the importance of choosing suitable candidates for local school boards across the state. “Parents and I think students, and I think Floridians want our school system to be about educating our kids, not indoctrinating kids,” DeSantis stated.
He also expressed the importance of voting conservative on Tuesday. “If I could have a conservative majority on every school board in the country, we would be in such good shape,” DeSantis said.
The endorsed candidates are pro-parent and pro-student and are committed to the DeSantis Education Agenda. Parental rights, curriculum transparency, and classrooms free of “woke” ideology are all on the ballot this election, according to the governor, and it starts with school board elections.
POLL: PARENTS AGREE
Earlier this month, Governor DeSantis endorsed a slate of candidates across the state who support his Education Agenda. And according to a new poll by the Washington Examiner YouGov, a majority of U.S. adults agree with the Parental Rights in Education Act (HB 1557), signed into law by the Republican-led Florida legislature. The law labeled by some as “don’t say gay” prohibits classroom instruction in grades K-3 on sexual orientation and gender identity, among other things.
The poll asked parents if students should learn gender identity and sexual orientation topics in schools. 67% said they oppose this type of discussion in classrooms. 59% of respondents also favored moving the restrictions up to the fourth and fifth grades.
50% of total respondents – including 40% of Democrats, 49% of Independents, and 65% of Republicans – believe that public schools teach students to accept specific views on sexuality.
Carl Bialik, Vice President of YouGov, said that the results reveal a significant divide between what parents want to be taught at schools and what they feel is being taught now. The sample size in the YouGov poll was 1,000. It was conducted from August 12–15, 2022.
HERE ARE DESANTIS’ SCHOOL BOARD ENDORSEMENTS:
Al Hernandez – Pasco County
Alexandria Suarez – Monroe County
Aly Legge – Hillsborough County
April Carney – Duval County
Armor Persons – Lee County
Bridget Ziegler – Sarasota County
Chad Choate – Manatee County
Charlotte Joyce – Duval County
Christy Chong – Flagler County
Cindy Spray – Manatee County
Colonel Richard Tatem – Manatee County
Darren Horan – Monroe County
Erin Skipper – Clay County
Fred Lowry – Volusia County
Jacqueline Rosario – Indian River County
Jaime Haynes – Volusia County
Jennifer Russell – Martin County
Jill Woolbright – Flagler County
Megan Wright – Brevard County
Mildred Russell – Alachua County
Monica Colucci – Miami-Dade County
Patricia Rendon – Hillsborough County
Phil Leary – Putnam County
Rick Nolte – Polk County
Roberto Alonso – Miami-Dade County
Robyn Marinelli – Sarasota County
Sam Fisher – Lee County
Stacy Hahn – Hillsborough County
Stephanie Busin – Hendry County
Timothy Enos – Sarasota County