(The Center Square) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday said he wants to eliminate ‘CRT bureaucracies’ at state colleges and universities at a news conference at the State College of Florida in Bradenton where he discussed higher education reforms.
In early January, DeSantis, along with House Speaker Paul Renner, R-Palm Coast, requested all financial records from state colleges and universities in regard to faculty expenditures on subjects that are considered “woke” like critical race theory.
Administrations who are politicizing their offices have no place in Florida, according to DeSantis, who said places of higher education should not be places where students are politically indoctrinated.
Under the new reforms, all tenured faculty and staff are now required to have a review every five years and they can be fired for performance reasons. However, the boards of trustees will be allowed to conduct performance reviews on a shorter timescale.
“It’s important that your tax dollars are funding institutions that you can be proud of.” DeSantis said. “We need our higher education system to focus on promoting academic excellence, the pursuit of truth and to give students the foundation so that they can think for themselves.”
DeSantis said institutions of higher education nationwide are overrun with bureaucracies, who are becoming a political arm.
“This is basically a component of the administration within universities that are imposing a political agenda,” DeSantis said. “These bureaucracies are hostile to academic freedom.”
DeSantis added that they are a drain on resources and result in higher costs to students.
Since DeSantis has been governor, tuition fees for state college students have not increased and Florida is also ranked number one in the United States for both colleges and universities and the main driver being affordability.
Florida has 28 state colleges that are training workers in high demand careers like automobile and diesel mechanics. The number of issued commercial driver’s licenses have increased from 600 per year to 3,500, something DeSantis says will help drive the economy forward.
To continue to lead in the area of higher education, emphasis has been put on teaching students a grounded history of Western Civilization and getting students to graduate with meaningful degrees. DeSantis said this begins by eliminating “CRT bureaucracies.”
“We are going to increase the standards for our preeminent state research universities,” said DeSantis, adding that they must spend at least $50 million on STEM programs or business partnerships to ensure students are able to be gainfully employed after graduating.
State colleges are also getting a boost in funding to recruit and retain highly trained educators.
The Adam Smith Center for Economic Freedom, located at Florida International, is already up and running and is modeled after a popular program at Princeton University.
In its mission statement, the center said it serves “as a world-class, independent, non-partisan think tank that aims to inform, influence, and inspire current and future leaders to develop and implement innovative, meaningful, and effective policies to advance individual freedom and human prosperity.”
The University of Florida in Gainesville also secured funds in 2022 for a similar project called The Hamilton Center. The Hamilton Center will eventually become a college within the university, according to DeSantis.
DeSantis said Florida is going against the orthodoxy and that it is important to remain diligent with taxpayer dollars and the responsibility they have to students to best prepare them for the workforce.