Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s recent veto of a “civics” bill supported by his own party suggests he’s not another pandering Republican who mouths slogans while failing to follow through with serious action securing his voters’ best interests.
While critical race theory battles rage both nationally and locally, some politicians in both parties are using a backdoor approach to cementing public institutions’ now-routine one-sided politicking for the far-left. In schools this has often been branded “civics” in a partially successful attempt to garner Republican support. But, remarkably for a Republican politician, DeSantis was not fooled.
“SB 146 presents a test for Governor DeSantis. Signing this bill would authorize and fund precisely the politicized and radical activism he has pledged to remove from Florida’s education system. I don’t doubt that few of Florida’s legislators realized this when they voted for SB 146,” wrote Stanley Kurtz last month as the bill hit DeSantis’s desk.
Kurtz detailed how the bill would fund political activism in the name of “civics education,” as do the majority of initiatives with such labels currently, including bipartisan federal legislation. In the deceitful names of “civic engagement” and “civic literacy,” the Florida bill would have essentially sent state funds to two outfits that coordinate youth political activism and openly endorse far-left causes, including the new racism.
In his veto letter, DeSantis indicated he was not only aware of this danger, but that this awareness informed his use of the power voters have bestowed on him to act in their interests: “The proposed bill seeks to further so-called ‘action civics’ but does so in a way that risks promoting the preferred orthodoxy of two particular institutions,” DeSantis wrote in his veto message.
It’s unfortunate this kind of behavior is a standout, but it is. Rather than being fooled by the left’s use of Republican-friendly language to smuggle terrible ideas into law and regulation, DeSantis paid attention to the details and didn’t accept at face value the claims even colleagues surely fed him and his staff. What a concept: Checking the fine print before you sign on the dotted line!
Kurtz also rightly gives the most credit to Florida parents awakened enough by critical race theory to have also carefully inspected this protest civics bill. Yet, it’s again a sadly rare and excellent thing that a Republican governor is actually listening to his own voters:
The DeSantis veto of S.B. 146 shows that the push-back against protest civics has truly gained traction. It can’t have been easy to veto a bill that passed unanimously. But knowledge of the troublesome practice of protest civics is spreading, and surely this helped to sink the bill. Grassroots education groups in Florida called on DeSantis to veto S.B. 146, and even a short time ago conservatives wouldn’t have known enough about protest civics to even notice a bill like this. With the grassroots rebellion sweeping the country on education issues, all of that has changed. This veto is every bit as much a tribute to the parents across Florida now fighting against politicized schools as it is to Governor DeSantis.
As we learned from the Common Core fight a decade ago, and Goals 2000 and so forth before that, the time for autopilot education and autopilot education governance is long over for those who love America as it was founded and want it long to endure. The barbarians are not only inside the gates, they control the commanding heights.
Well, DeSantis says: Not in Florida. He has a fight ahead of him, but it’s a fight he’s waging with intelligence and resolve.