Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday rolled out his “education agenda,” the latest sign that the Governor intends to weaponize School Board races in the 2022 cycle.
The DeSantis Education Agenda, subtitled “Putting Parents First, Protecting Parents’ Rights,” presents “a policy agenda that focuses on student success, parental rights and curriculum transparency.”
“The DeSantis Education Agenda is a student-first, parent-centered initiative focused on setting Florida’s children up for success, ensuring parental rights in education, and combatting the woke agenda from infiltrating public schools,” the website contends, setting up a survey for candidates who may want the Governor’s backing. “This statewide agenda is for school board candidates and school board members who are committed to advancing these priorities at the local school board level.”
Completing the survey in itself is not tantamount to a coveted endorsement, the websitesays.
Among the questions for survey respondents: Whether they support “workforce education,” the Governor’s “increases in teacher compensation,” or the concept of students being “locked out of school or subject to forced masking.”
“What should your school district do to better prepare students as citizens?” another prompt asks.
Another question regards protecting dissent: “How will you protect a parent’s right to publicly disagree with their school board?”
Respondents are also probed on critical race theory and “the horrors of communism.”
DeSantis has put limitations on School Boards with regularity thus far, battling with numerous local bodies about COVID-19 precautions for much of the pandemic.
He signed legislation that puts term limits on School Board members, but lamented the three terms required were one too many, and criticized School Boards and the White House for not listening to parents.
DeSantis said parents asked “tough questions” of School Boards during the pandemic, and were discouraged from doing so by a Joe Biden administration that likened parents to “domestic terrorists.”
The Governor said he would politicize School Board races last summer. During a cable television interview, DeSantis vowed to turn his “political apparatus” against Republican School Board candidates who oppose his educational reforms.
“We’re not going to support any Republican candidate for School Board who supports critical race theory in all 67 counties or supports mandatory masking of school children,” DeSantis told Fox News’ Dan Bongino.
School Board races in Florida are nonpartisan.
“Local elections matter. We are going to get the Florida political apparatus involved so we can make sure there’s not a single School Board member who supports critical race theory,” DeSantis added.
–A.G. Gancarski, Florida Politics