OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill that will impose four-year term limits on school board members and subject most material in district schools’ libraries and classrooms to governmental oversight and approval practices.
During a news conference at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, DeSantis spoke about CB/HB 1467, a bill that he argued is “probably the strongest curriculum transparency legislation in the country” as resistance against “indoctrination in the school system.”
According to the bill, anyone involved in the selection of a K-12 district school’s library materials must complete a training program designed by the Florida Department of Education before they can qualify to do so.
DeSantis said the legislation will enable parents to “defend the education of their kids” and keep instructional, library, or reading list material in line with state standards.
“I’m a big believer in term limits, but you don’t even always have to wait for that to attach. You can throw the bums out in the election, If they mistreated your kids or if they didn’t follow the law, or if they did anything, you have an opportunity, for many of them will be up for reelection. I think that school board races often did not get much attention,” DeSantis said.
“But I think what we’ve found is that those are some of the most important elections that we’re able to vote on, I think you’re going to have a huge amount of voter interest in these August and November elections for the school boards in the various counties,” he added.
“Then you have this governor’s race in Virginia, where you had the losing candidate say parents that — he said, parents should not be involved in what is taught in the school system. And so there is a debate in this country about what role parents have in the education of their kids. And I think in Florida with, our Parents’ Bill of Rights, with the bill we’re going to sign here today, other bills we’re going to sign later, we believe parents not only have a role, but they also have a fundamental role to be involved in the education of their kids. And that’s how it’s going to be in the state of Florida,” DeSantis argued.
“We reject those that say, parents not only shouldn’t be involved but there are also some say, parents don’t even have a right to know what is being taught in this, that there are actually some places where you can make serious decisions for these kids and not inform the parents about it,” he said.
“And so, that is not going to fly in the state of Florida. We’re going to make sure that parents have a seat at the table, and that we protect — protect their rights because nobody has more invested in the proper well-being of kids than the parents themselves. And the good thing is and the good thing is — is, as we are seeing this debate, you know, most teachers in Florida want the parents involved. I know there’s other parts of the country there, and I’m not saying that’s true 100 percent but most of them really want the parents involved,” he continued.