Claiming that Florida schools are undergoing “leftist indoctrination,” a “leftist agenda,” and “sexualization of children,” Gov. Ron DeSantis called on hundreds of members of “Moms For Liberty,” gathered in Tampa Friday, to fight.
“You’ve got to stand up and you’ve got to fight,” DeSantis said in a keynote speech to the conservative, nearly all-white audience, estimated at 500, in a Tampa hotel. “You’re going to take fire. They’re going to shoot arrows at you.”
The governor, running for reelection, won repeated cheers and standing ovations from the members, wearing badges identifying them as being from states as distant as Hawaii and New York.
“They cannot wait to vote for him for president,” said Moms For Liberty co-founder Tiffany Justice, introducing DeSantis at the Friday morning keynote. The audience stood, cheered, and waved “DeSantis” signs and “Mamas For DeSantis” signs — the latter referring to a group recently founded by First Lady Casey DeSantis.
DeSantis focused on “the free state of Florida,” where he largely has blocked COVID protocols recommended by federal health authorities and pushed new laws empowering parental authority over school boards.
“Our school systems are for educating kids, not indoctrinating them,” DeSantis said, citing his administration’s rejection of “woke” math textbooks and its ban on teachers “forcing sexuality and gender ideology in elementary schools.”
Florida Democrats, assembled in an adjacent hotel for their annual leadership conference, countered that DeSantis is lying about educational achievement in Florida to recruit conservative parents behind his political ambitions, which include an anticipated run for the presidency in 2024.
Brevard County School Board member Jennifer Jenkins, a teacher and Democrat who says she was harassed and threatened for her pro-mask position at the height of the pandemic, said Florida schools are 9,000 instructors short as the fall term approaches.
And they rank 43rd nationally in education funding and 48th in average teacher salaries — not because of masks, critical race theory, or gender issues touted by conservatives, she said. (National Education Association research shows Florida’s average teacher pay at $51,009, ranking 48th in the nation, based on 2020-21 data. For per-student spending, the NEA data show $10,703, ranking 44th in the nation.)
“Our teacher shortage is a DeSantis decision,” Jenkins said, arguing that Florida schools have fallen behind during 20 years of leadership mostly by Republicans. Jenkins said she based her support for temporary masking in Brevard schools on local evidence, including the COVID deaths of 10 staff members.
Notably, Jenkins defeated her Republican incumbent opponent, Tina Descovich, who soon after joined with two other school board members to found Moms For Liberty. Jenkins said voters chose her over Descovich because she supported masking in schools, as they did.
“It’s not about kids. It’s about an obsession with power,” said Democratic Party Chairman Manny Diaz, who argued DeSantis and other top Republicans are, like former President Trump, fueling conspiracy theories that erode public trust in science, the judiciary, and professional news media.
Scott Hottenstein, public education chair for the Florida Democratic Party and a former civics teacher, said conservative opposition to “critical race theory” is based on such a conspiracy.
“We don’t teach critical race theory in Florida,” Hottenstein flatly stated. “Parents want all of history to be taught … without being censored by politicians.”
R. S. says
Surely, our electorate isn’t stupid enough to fall for this guy again, is it? What a troglodyte–with apologies to the real troglodytes.
Dennis C Rathsam says
Best governor we ever had! Besides who,s gonna beat him? FLIP-FLOP CHARLIE…LOL
David Schaefer says
Maybe you and trumpee can get together….
Governor Poser strikes again. Can’t find enough teachers to fill positions so let’s drive the State towards last place in education, then the so called “Moms for Stupidity” will be happy.
OMG! These crazy “f’ng” people need to be put down! Anything the orange monster was unable to destroy in 4 years will be completed by this dangerous lunatic!
jeffery c. seib says
Words shouted out by a politician to a group of rabid supporters is not any way to run a state, county, dog catcher, anything. What are democrats doing to the school system? DeSantis and all the republican-led school boards all across the state have let the quality of educating our young people fall to a new low. So, Florida ranks near the bottom in education. I have a guess it’s two other republican-led states that are even lower. DeSantis, with his Harvard mouth tells the brain-dead Trump supporters that democrats are to blame. One has only had to look at our Flagler County school board to see who’s ruining it here.
Deborah Coffey says
Ron DeSantis has become the MOST dangerous man in America. Vote him out…or, you’d better like living in Russia…because that’s what you’re about to get right here.
So I guess the crack smoking, male prostitute frequenter Gillum was your choice.
Would have been better Mikey.
Deborah Coffey says
How many rapes was Trump accused of? And, you voted for HIM? Give me a break.
Sheila Zinkerman says
Moms for Liberty are not a grassroots parent organization as they claim. Learn who they are, and what they want, so when they show up to your school board meetings you’ll be better equipped to shift the balance of control away from them. DeSantis and his Moms for Liberty won’t stop at banned books, Christian Nationalists standards in civics curriculum, and “Parental Rights in Education” bill that targets LGBTQ+ students and their families. DeSantis called for his moms to “fight.” They will; and hopefully authentic, grassroots parents, students, teachers, and school boards will resist. Vote.
He is delusional and paranoid. He is starting to see things that aren’t there. He is pandering to a base obviously, he can’t really thing this conspiracy-group-think is the what America needs? Let’s pretend “Liberty” means learning sanitized history and teachers having cameras watch what they teach and only being allowed to read books the “small” government wants us to read.
Rest assured neither President Trump nor Governor DeSantis, had or has, any responsibility for the erosion of confidence, or specifically, an absence of confidence in: science (Fauci)- judiciary (AG Garland)-“professional news media? What the hell is that? Oh yea, Russia, Russia, Russia? Hunter Biden perhaps? Yea, okay.
Maybe he (DeSatan) is channeling Joseph McCarthy, former U.S. senator…
Nothing brings people together like hatred—DeSatan’s sycophants have marketed him
astoundingly well, just like Donald (the dummy) Trump.
DeSantis focused on “the free state of Florida…” so you think you’re free?
1.) “Click it or Ticket”
2.) Wear your life jacket
3.) Your body is government controlled
4.) White is the preferred color
5.) You will only be “Christian”
6.) You will only be straight
7.) You must read only the books the government feels are safe
8.) You must be only male or female and no grey area
9.) You will only be able to marry a person the government finds suitable
10.) Your child will be taught only what the far right Christian nationalists believe is good
11.) You will believe in a white male with white hair and beard sitting on a cloud, anything else will be blasphemy
12.) There will be no room for discussion
13.) You will be easier to control
All this is for your own good because you’re too stupid to think for yourself and you need to be protected by the government.
If DeSantis gets in, maybe Americans are that stupid and need a daddy.
Poor Jesus, they didn’t listen to you but speak in your name.