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Florida aims to improve civics education

'It's crucial to ensure that we teach our students how to be responsible citizens,' Gov. Ron DeSantis says
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis holds an education news conference in Fort Myers.jpg
Posted at 11:56 AM, Jun 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-22 14:56:20-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis wants Florida to be known as the number one state for civics literacy in America.

"It's crucial to ensure that we teach our students how to be responsible citizens," DeSantis said during a news conference in Fort Myers on Tuesday.

Speaking at Three Oaks Middle School, the governor signed three bills into law to improve civics education -- the study of the rights, duties, and obligations of citizenship -- in schools throughout the state.

"[Students] need to have a good working knowledge of American history, American government, and the principles that underlie our Constitution and Bill of Rights," DeSantis said.

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis makes education announcement in Fort Myers

HB 1 tasks the Florida Department of Education with developing an "integrated civics curriculum." It also requires high school government class students to receive instruction on the "evils of Communism and Totalitarian ideologies."

"It's very important that students graduate high school with a key knowledge of certain key principles and facts," DeSantis said.

SB 1108 requires state college and state university students to take both a civics literacy course and civics literacy assessment as a graduation requirement. High school students can take the civics literacy assessment so they don't have to take it in college.

"Doesn't have high stake consequences, but if you pass the test, you're exempt from the post-secondary test requirement," DeSantis said.

Finally, HB 233 requires colleges and universities to conduct annual assessments on the "intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity at these institutions."

"Whatever you do, the civics is gonna be relevant because you are going to be a citizen. You're going to have to discharge the duties of citizenship. And we want people to be able to do that with a very strong foundation," DeSantis said.

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