The Florida State Board of Education has implemented new regulations to prohibit funding for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) programs, activities, and policies.
The decision will impact the 28 member institutions of the Florida College System (FCS).
“Higher education must return to its essential foundations of academic integrity and the pursuit of knowledge instead of being corrupted by destructive ideologies,” said Manny Diaz, Jr., Florida’s commissioner of education, in a Wednesday statement.
“These actions today ensure that we will not spend taxpayers’ money supporting DEI and radical indoctrination that promotes division in our society,” he continued.
The statement from the Florida Department of Education explained the State Board defines DEI programs as those which “categorize individuals based on race or sex for the purpose of differential or preferential treatment.”
The State Board simultaneously approved the decision to remove a course titled “Principles of Sociology” from the general education course options for students, replacing it with a course focused on American history. Replacing the sociology course with the history survey aims to help satisfy a state requirement for students to complete a civic literacy course or assessment in order to graduate. The course will still be available to students who wish to take it but will no longer fulfill a general education requirement.
A “Principles of Sociology” syllabus for the Summer 2023 semester at the University of Florida shows that the course places an emphasis on various forms of “inequalities,” including modules on class, global, and gender inequalities, as well as a module on ethnicity and race.
“The aim is to provide students with an accurate and factual account of the nation’s past, rather than exposing them to radical woke ideologies, which had become commonplace in the now replaced course,” reads the FDOE statement.
Florida’s newly-approved regulations are the latest installment of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ attempt to de-radicalize state universities and colleges.
The governor’s Stop Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees (W.O.K.E.) Act, initially proposed in 2021, is currently blocked from enforcement by state courts until an October trial can settle the issue.
That legislation prohibits teachers from endorsing racism or Critical Race Theory in the classroom, though it does not block teachers from having objective conversations about these topics in classroom discussions. It also expands the depth of African-American history instruction, incorporating emphases on prejudice, stereotyping, responsibility and respectfulness.