For those following along at home, the list of things that Ron DeSantis hates has now expanded to include Walt Disney World, the word “Gay,” vaccinating kids against COVID, talking openly about American History, and now, public education itself.
As reported by the Tampa Bay Times, DeSantis recently signed a bill into law that would require “public universities and colleges to survey students, faculty and staff about their beliefs and viewpoints to support ‘intellectual diversity.'”
“The measure, which goes into effect July 1, does not specify what will be done with the survey results. But DeSantis and Sen. Ray Rodrigues, the sponsor of the bill, suggested […] that budget cuts could be looming if universities and colleges are found to be “indoctrinating” students.”
For the last time, every single thing isn’t “indoctrination”
To the attentive observer, it has long been obvious that Ron DeSantis is a cynical political automaton.
From Florida’s Don’t Say Gay bill to DeSantis’s fight with Disney to his covid-era obsession with masks, DeSantis clearly mines Fox News and other Conservative outlets for his political outrages du jour. So it comes as absolutely no surprise that he has turned his ire toward Florida’s schools again. After all, undermining public education has been a favorite partisan battle for the more fascist-inclined Right for more than 100 years.
Whether it’s banning math textbooks or demanding in the vaguest terms that Florida schools and businesses never “make” anyone feel guilty about America’s racist history, DeSantis has proven over and over that his politics (and subsequent legislation) are driven exclusively by the culture wars.
His obsession with “indoctrination” is no different.
In fact, DeSantis doesn’t seem to feel it’s necessary to be able to define indoctrination at all. Again, as reported by the Tampa Bay Times, “For instance, the governor said he “knows a lot of parents” who are worried that their children will be “indoctrinated” when they go off to college, and that universities are promoting “orthodoxies.” But he did not offer specifics on those claims.”
Remember, for Republicans like DeSantis, inventing “Liberal” boogeymen out of whole cloth is half the fun, and three-quarters of the action.
For example, this is not “indoctrination.”
And this is not “indoctrination.”
But this is “indoctrination.”
It’s all about self-promotion
Not really aimed at stopping “indoctrination,” this new Florida bill rather seems intended to have a chilling effect on teachers and professors, by once again introducing incredibly vague parameters around what they are and aren’t allowed to say to their students. As described by Salon, “Based on the bill’s language, survey responses will not necessarily be anonymous — sparking worries among many professors and other university staff that they may be targeted, held back in their careers or even fired for their beliefs.”
It’s ultimately not so different than how, at DeSantis’ request, the State Board of Education voted to bar lessons and discussions on the concept of critical race theory. Were they even teaching Critical Race Theory before that?
“None of Florida’s school districts taught the theory before the ban, state education officials acknowledged. But DeSantis, leading up to his reelection bid in 2022, has railed against critical race theory, […], because he says it is an attempt to indoctrinate children against the United States.”
So, to put a fine point on things: the Far-Right, self-obsessed Governor of one of the most heavily populated American States wants the government to create a database recording all its students, professors and administrators personal ideologies. Because that’s not scary and neo-Fascist?