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Educational reform or indoctrination? Gov. DeSantis mandates Florida youth to learn about “dangers and evils of Communism”


Florida – In a move that aligns with his educational reforms, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently signed a new bill mandating that K–12 public schools in the state teach about the “evils of communism.” This legislation, which Governor DeSantis describes as a necessary truth-telling measure, is set to reshape the educational landscape in Florida, emphasizing a particular narrative about communism’s role in history and its conflict with American democratic values.

Educational reform or indoctrination? Gov. DeSantis mandates Florida youth to learn about "dangers and evils of Communism"

A Curriculum Against Communism

Governor DeSantis announced the signing of the bill with a clear message about the intent to inform students about communism before they encounter different perspectives in higher education.

“It’s going to give the students the truth about communism,” DeSantis stated, expressing concern about students being exposed to positive depictions of communism in universities. The law will take effect in the 2026–2027 school year and will include lessons on the historical threats posed by communist ideologies in the United States and the atrocities committed under communist regimes abroad.

This educational directive requires that schools teach students how communist ideologies conflict with the core American values of freedom and democracy. Governor DeSantis emphasized, “The truth will set us free. We will not allow our students to live in ignorance, nor be indoctrinated by Communist apologists in schools.”

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The Historical and Current Context of Communism

While the governor focused on the negative aspects of communism, including the significant death tolls associated with communist regimes in the 20th century, the ideology itself has also influenced several beneficial societal structures. Communism’s call for a classless society where property is communally owned traces back to ancient civilizations and has influenced modern aspects of American life such as public education, government-subsidized healthcare, and labor rights.

Despite this, the American Historical Association (AHA) and other critics argue that the law presents a one-sided view and question why the curriculum does not also include teachings on other political ideologies like fascism, which have also threatened democratic values.

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Legislation Sparks Debate

The new legislation has sparked significant debate. James Grossman, Executive Director of the AHA, criticized the singular focus on communism, suggesting it skews historical understanding: “This legislation is largely symbolic, catering to popular notions of a continuing ‘threat of communism in the United States.’” Grossman pointed out that while the law mandates teaching the threats of communism, it omits other authoritarian threats like fascism, which have equally impacted history.

Critics also argue that some aspects of the law, such as its portrayal of the Cultural Revolution as a direct threat to the United States, are historically questionable. They fear that this approach might limit comprehensive historical education and promote a biased view of global history.

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Broader Educational Reforms

This bill is part of a series of educational reforms under Governor DeSantis that have stirred controversy. In the past, his administration has banned an Advanced Placement course on African American studies and passed a law that critics have labeled “Don’t Say Gay,” which restricts discussions on sexual orientation and gender identity in schools. These actions reflect a broader conservative agenda to reshape educational content in Florida.

As Florida continues to implement these changes, the state remains in the spotlight, not only for its political maneuvers but also for the broader implications these have on educational standards and students’ academic performance, which currently ranks among the lowest in the nation in terms of SAT and ACT scores.

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