Florida is hailed as the state with one of the best public schooling systems in the US, offering quality education that’s affordable for the common citizen. However, in March 2022, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill to reform educational policies in Florida. The bill was signed with the aim of adding more transparency to the educational system and allow parents and the state to have more control over what their children learn.
While this sounds good on paper, the bill was criticized by many who believe that the educational reform will remove crucial elements from the curriculum and force parents, teachers, and students to stick to a linear and highly filtered course outline. Here’s what the reform means for children and parents.
New Training For Librarians
The new training schedule goes into effect to increase the scrutiny of books and other educational materials in libraries and schools. With this training, librarians can remove books on certain topics that don’t align with the state’s standards. Currently, the focus is on books that contain sexually explicit content.
However, people believe that this scrutiny will extend to books with non-related but gender-based topics like gender diversity, LGBTQ+, and critical race theory. Librarians will go over the contents of the book and will have the power to approve and disapprove them based on the state’s guidelines. This act will also water down the information available in public libraries and schools.
Review Of Instructional Material
According to the bill, each school district board will require committee meetings to review the instructional material used in the schools. The recommendations made must be open for review by the public and include parents of the school’s children. Based on that, schools are required to list the materials used in teaching in detail on their websites, including specific books. If the public or parents object to any materials used in teaching, they shall be removed and discontinued, and an updated list should be published.
Parents’ Role In Schooling
To give more control to parents and the topics their children are exposed to, the new bill will allow parents and guardians to lodge objections with the state and school board.
This added transparency means that if the teaching materials don’t align with the parents’ religious, social, and political beliefs, the public school boards will be forced to review the materials and update, discontinue, or remove them based on an open and transparent review. This transparency extends to library books, course materials, and new materials introduced into schools. The school boards will have 30 calendar days to remove, modify and update the materials after the initial petition by the parents.
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