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The Trinity Voice

The student news site of Trinity Preparatory School

The Trinity Voice

The student news site of Trinity Preparatory School

The Trinity Voice

Florida’s Attack on Education

On Aug. 3, Florida high schoolers woke up to the news that the state of Florida had banned the teaching of AP Psychology due to the course’s lessons on gender identity and expression. This news was shocking to Florida residents, but given the state’s recent history with banning and altering curricula, perhaps it should not have been.

Since 2020, Florida has banned critical race theory in K-12 classrooms, banned AP African American Studies and introduced Bill 999 that would ban specific majors at public universities. Florida has also approved PragerU, a conservative media company, to show its absurdly biased materials to elementary school children. All of this censorship is done under the guise of “protecting our children” from the “Woke Agenda.”

The “Woke Agenda” does not have a formal definition, however it seems to be any material that discusses the historical and current oppression of people of color or the existence of transgender people. Although these issues don’t currently affect independent schools like Trinity, they could affect TPS students who go on to attend public universities. To combat these issues, it’s important to understand the extent of the censorship.

Critical Race Theory

In 2021, Florida Governor Ron Desantis and the Florida Board of Education banned the teaching of critical race theory in Florida public school classrooms. Critical race theory is a topic that could be covered by itself in an article, but to summarize for those unfamiliar, it began as a college course taught to examine U.S. history with a focus on the racial disparities between white people and people of color. The class also places an emphasis on the continued effects that systems of oppression such as slavery have on society today.

“Some of this stuff is, I think, really toxic,” DeSantis told the state legislature. “I think it’ll cause people to think of themselves more as a member of a particular race based on skin color, rather than based on the content of their character and based on their hard work and what they’re trying to accomplish in life.”

This sentiment is, to say the least, reductive. Teaching students about systemic racism is not nearly the same thing as teaching students to hate themselves for their race.

AP Course Issues

The ban on AP Psychology made earlier this year was very quickly reversed after widespread backlash from both students and current AP Psychology teachers. Despite the reversal, Seminole County Public Schools at first moved to replace AP Psychology with an AP Seminar course with “a focus on psychology.” However, just 12 days after that decision, Seminole County reversed its decision and allowed for AP Psychology to be taught this academic year. In a similar vein, in January, Florida banned the teaching of AP African American Studies when it was in the prototype stage. The course was banned on the grounds that it “lacked educational value.” It is important to note that the CollegeBoard already offers language classes that incorporate culture, including Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish, and these classes were not deemed to “lack in educational value.”

Florida House Bill 999

On Feb. 24, Rep. Alex Andrade (R) proposed Florida House Bill 999 to ban all majors involving gender studies or critical race theory at Florida’s 12 public universities. This bill, if passed, would be catastrophic. It would set the precedent that the Florida state government can intervene in the departments and studies offered on a college campus. While this bill has not been passed and still has many stages to go through before it would go into effect, the fact that it is considered reasonable enough to be in discussion at all is abhorrent.

PragerU Kids

PragerU is a conservative media organization that produces videos explaining economic, social and political concepts all with an overt right-leaning bias. PragerU kids, an ongoing series of videos made for children, includes a depiction of Christopher Colombus defending his enslavement of native peoples.

“Slavery is as old as time and has taken place in every corner of the world, even amongst the people I just left,” Columbus said in the video.

Having these deliberately misleading videos available for parents to show their children is one thing, but placing these videos at the same level as well-vetted resources like PBS is ludicrous. The cherry on top of it all, however, is the fact that PragerU founder Dennis Prager admitted to the fact that the purpose of these videos is indoctrination.

“Well, because you indoctrinate kids.’ Which is true. We bring doctrines to children. That is a very fair statement. I said, ‘But what is the bad of our indoctrination?’” Prager said.

So to recap, lessons teaching about U.S. history with a focus on race is a part of the “Woke Agenda,” and are gross attempts at indoctrinating children. But videos designed by conservatives with the express purpose of indoctrinating children are not only perfectly okay, but should be granted authorization to be shown in public schools.

What should we do?

In order to combat these restrictions, it is important to get informed, to vote in local elections and to contact your local policymakers. If you can’t vote, take the time to inform and talk to someone who can. The sooner we act, the sooner things can change.

The lead editorial expresses the opinion of the Trinity Voice editorial sta  . Please send comments to [email protected].

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