DeSantis signs bill to roll out communism lessons in Florida public schools

Mr DeSantis signed the bill behind a podium that read “ANTI-COMMUNIST EDUCATION” on Wednesday

Michelle Del Rey
Thursday 18 April 2024 22:41 BST
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Protestors storm stage during Ron DeSantis speech.

Florida school students will now learn about communism after Republican Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill making the topic a requirement by law.

Mr DeSantis signed the bill behind a podium that read “ANTI-COMMUNIST EDUCATION” on Wednesday.

The legislation will require Florida public schools to educate children, aged four to 18, about the political ideology, starting in the 2026-2027 school year.

According to the bill’s text, students will be educated about “the history of communism in the United States and 49 domestic communist movements, including their histories and 50 tactics”.

The material taught in class will include atrocities committed in foreign countries, like China and in parts of Latin America, under communism; and comparative discussion of political ideologies such as totalitarianism and the increasing threat of communism to the US and its allies.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks on 7 March 2023, at the state Capitol in Tallahassee, Florida. On Wednesday, the governor signed a bill requiring communism be taught to grade school students starting in the 2026-2027 school year
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks on 7 March 2023, at the state Capitol in Tallahassee, Florida. On Wednesday, the governor signed a bill requiring communism be taught to grade school students starting in the 2026-2027 school year (Copyright 2023 the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Mr DeSantis signed the bill on the 63rd anniversary of the Bay of Pigs attack, a botched invasion of Cuba to remove Fidel Castro as dictator.

“What we’re doing today builds off the stake in the ground that we planted in the state of Florida many years ago when I first became governor,” Mr DeSantis said at Hialeah Gardens Museum, which is dedicated to highlighting the efforts of the Bay of Pigs assault.

“We’re going to tell the truth about communism in the state of Florida...We’re going to tell the truth about the evils of communism. We’re going to tell the truth about the unprecedented death toll of the 20th century at the hands of communist tyranny.”

Instruction will be implemented in an age appropriate manner, the bill states. The Cold War is typically taught at the high school level in many states including Florida and California. Middle school students in Florida learn about the ideology in a civics and government course.

The bill was favoured by a majority of the Florida legislature. In March, it passed the state Senate 25 to 7, while the House voted 106 to 7.

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