A constitutional republic that exercises the democratic self-government model, requires a civic-minded, politically vigilant, and morally conscientious citizenry. Florida continues to be a trailblazer in the fight to defend freedom and uphold the preconditional elements for the permanence of an open society. The Sunshine State’s legislature approved, on April 26th, a civic education curriculum requirement, HB 5 (House version) and SB 1450 (Senate version).
Governor Ron DeSantis is poised to sign this seminal bill into law, which would go into effect on July 1st. Pedagogic measures such as this, serve the purposes of empowering a republican society with civic awareness, as well as combating the onslaught of cultural Marxism’s Critical Race Theory throughout the nation’s schools. If done right, Florida can potentially set a national educational standard for America.
Florida’s Civic Education Curriculum (CEC) would revamp social studies high school credit requirements for graduation. The state’s Department of Education (DOE) would be ordered to produce or approve integrated civic curricula for public and charter schools from kindergarten through 12th grade. School districts and charter schools could submit curricula material to the DOE for validation, or they could adopt approved versions.
The bills overarching objective is to raise civic responsibility and deepen knowledge about American republicanism and comparable liberticidal ideologies such as Communism. Among the inherent pathways of the CEC to achieve the stated goals are the Portraits in Patriotism Act (PPA) section, a portion of the legislation that explicitly requires the DOE to curate oral history testimony into the civic education format. The idea with the PPA focus is to offer first-hand experience attestation from individuals with “civic-minded qualities” that have lived through and survived antisystem regimes.
The required U.S. government courses throughout the K-12 public school system, as part of the bill, would mandate “a comparative discussion of political ideologies, such as communism and totalitarianism, that conflict with the principles of freedom and democracy essential to the founding principles of the United States.” Florida has experience with civics education, particularly with exposing the dangers of Communism and its grave contrast with American republicanism.
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Florida Statute 233.064, a 1961 law, established the requirement that Americanism versus Communism (AVC), as a social studies course, be mandated for high school graduation certification. The law was active from 1961 through 1991, surviving a legal challenge in 1983. The fall of Soviet Communism prompted the Sunshine State to remove AVC as a course requirement. The false premise that communism died was the rationalization motor. Communism, however, did not die. It simply muted. This helps explain America’s current systemic crisis.
Republican Representative Ardian Zika, an ethnic Albanian from Yugoslavia representing Land o’ Lakes, led the charge in Florida’s House. In the Senate, Ana María Rodríguez, a Cuban American Republican from Doral, heralded the bill. The odd thing is that the bill was passed, in both chambers, unanimously. While this may appear as a reason to celebrate, given the absolute bipartisan vote, such situations often lend themselves as warning signs. In today’s hotly ideologically divided political realm across the United States Florida is by no means an exception to this. Compromises with Florida’s radical left-wing politicians must be avoided at all costs.
If Florida’s CEC is to complete its task of highlighting American democracy and exposing the dangers of Communism, the content must be comprehensive in its understanding of Marxism and rigorously compulsory in its application. The errors of the past cannot be repeated. The cancellation of AVC courses in 1991 reflected such false perceptions of reality. Classical Marxism, as practiced from 1917 to 1991, must be showcased. No less important, however, is cultural Marxism which is more current in the ideology’s implementation. Its practical weaponry of Antonio Gramsci’s Cultural Hegemony, the Frankfurt School’s Critical Theory, and its postmodernist offspring, Critical Race Theory, have had a far greater reach in the war to destroy America.
The socialist dictatorial model that reformulated Marxist subversive activity in Latin America at the Sao Paulo Forum is an obligatory add on. The Chinese and Vietnamese models, consisting of a Marxist-Leninist state with state directed socialist market economic systems (Asian Communism), forcibly would have to be included, if Communism’s picture is to be properly presented.
With their power over unions and faux civil rights organizations, the left will mobilize and object to such a thorough rendering of this evil ideological scrouge to Florida’s children. This should not dampen the boldness that Florida’s civic education project must have to be of any service to liberty and the Republic. DeSantis will sign this bill shortly, mostly likely and appropriately in Miami, the communist exile capital of the world. The governor’s commitment to make Florida a model in the effort to keep America free has a great opportunity in edifying a new and elevated standard in American education and true nation-building.
Julio M Shiling, political scientist, writer, director of Patria de Martí and The Cuban American Voice, lecturer and media commentator. A native of Cuba, he currently lives in the United States. Twitter: @JulioMShiling // Julio es politólogo, escritor, director de Patria de Martí y The Cuban American Voice. Conferenciante y comentarista en los medios. Natural de Cuba, vive actualmente en EE UU.