Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a rising star in the Republican Party, appeared at a press conference at a Fort Myers middle school Tuesday to sign three bills, two related to high school civics education and one guaranteeing free speech at state universities, the Associated Press reports.
The bills appear to have the same general goal: helping protect students from an increasingly left-leaning educational system. All three align with DeSantis' weekend pledge to "put on the full armor of God" to fight leftism, words he shared at the Faith & Freedom Coalition's "Road to Majority" Conference.
House Bill 5 directs the state Department of Education to provide a curriculum designed to educate students on the evils of communism and totalitarian regimes like Nicaragua and Venezuela, per the Orlando Sentinel. The other civics education bill deals with bridging high school and college civics studies.
"Why would somebody flee across shark-infested waters, say leaving from Cuba, to come to southern Florida?" DeSantis asked. "Why would somebody leave a place like Vietnam? Why would people leave these countries and risk their life to be able to come here? It's important that students understand that."
The bill related to free speech at universities, DeSantis said, will help with parents' fear that students will become indoctrinated through the teaching found there.
"It used be thought that a university campus was a place where you'd be exposed to a lot of different ideas," he said. "Unfortunately now, the norm is really these are more intellectually repressive environments. You have orthodoxies that are promoted and other viewpoints are shunned, or even suppressed. We don't want that in Florida."
DeSantis also reminded those in attendance of his recent ban on the teaching of critical race theory, which he said is too critical of American history because of the ways it addresses racism, in Florida schools.
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