Florida Gov. DeSantis Signs ‘Anti-Communist Education’ Bill Into Law

T.J. Muscaro
By T.J. Muscaro
April 17, 2024Politics
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law Wednesday. It would require public schools in Florida to educate students on the history and dangers of communism, both in the United States and foreign countries.

Florida students at all grade levels will receive further instruction on the history and dangers of communism beginning in the 2026–27 school year.

“We’re going to tell the truth about the evils of communism,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said on April 17. “We’re going to tell the truth about the unprecedented death toll of the 20th century at the hands of Communist tyranny—100 million killed at the hands of communist regimes spreading from China to the Soviet Union to Cuba. Those are the facts, and those are what we need to be very clear-eyed about now.”

Standing at a podium with a sign that said “Anti-Communist Education,” Mr. DeSantis signed Senate Bill 1264 at the Bay of Pigs museum in Hialeah in front of a wall of pictures of the men who were a part of the brigade, commemorating the 63rd anniversary of the failed attempt to usurp communism in Cuba.

He was joined by the bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Jay Collins, Florida Department of Education Commissioner Manny Diaz, Jr., and some surviving Bay of Pigs veterans, as well as people from South Vietnam.

“This law is very, very important to all of us,” said Bay of Pigs survivor and Vietnam veteran Felix Rodriguez. “I hope that every state of the union will adopt this type of law. So we have too many professors that are leftists teaching the wrong ideology to our students.

“None of them have lived in a communist country, and none of them will ever go to a communist country. They don’t know what socialism means. We do,” he added.

Florida has previously added communism-focused education to its schools’ curriculum. The governor proclaimed Nov. 7 “Victims of Communism Day” in 2022. The current 2023–24 school year became the first year in which all high school students taking a United States Government class were required to have 45 minutes of instruction on atrocities of communism the world over, from the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the rise of Mao Zedong in China to the present-day totalitarian regime of Nicolas Maduro and the Chavismo Movement in Venezuela.

Mr. Diaz noted that this legislation will make the state’s education on communism “much more comprehensive.” It will focus on the history of communism in the United States and review activists’ and communists’ tactics and movements in the United States and beyond, including Cuba’s communist policies and the spread of communist ideologies throughout Latin America and other foreign countries.

Higher Education

The commissioner announced that the education would be spread across K–12 grades “in a manner that is age-appropriate” and also praised aspects of the bill that infiltrate higher education, which established the Institute for Freedom in the Americas at Miami Dade College, which will operate in partnership with the Adam Smith Center for Economic freedom at Florida International University (FIU).

The commissioner and the governor also criticized what they saw as the favoring and spreading of communism across the education system. The governor’s office specifically states this bill “prepares students to withstand indoctrination on Communism at colleges and universities.”

“For too long, we’ve had the other side trying to impose their ideology and their version of the story—which is false—on our higher ed students,” Mr. Diaz said, adding that he was “delighted” to see that through the institutes at Miami-Dade College and FIU, they could penetrate higher education and begin to push back.

The governor also joked that there were more communists on the Harvard faculty than there are left in post-communist Eastern Europe.

Florida used to require all public high school students to pass a 30-hour course called “Americanism vs. Communism,” but it was discontinued after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

According to a 2020 poll conducted by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, 18 percent of Gen Z and 13 percent of Millennials said they thought communism is more fair than capitalism, and 30 percent of Gen Z and 27 percent of Millennials have a favorable view of Marxism.

Mr. Collins told the signing’s attendees that “right now, in our universities, between 20 and 30 percent” think that communism is something that America should try.

“We thought in the ’80s communism and socialism [were] dead, and we took our foot off the gas pedal, but they never went away,” Mr. Collins said. “They kept fighting. That war continued on, and now we have to make up time.”

He continued: “So what this bill does is it takes our truth, it takes the reality of what is going on with communism and its effect on communities, countries, and populations, [the] deaths that it causes, and it makes it a very real thing to our youth. We have to teach them. Remember: what we teach our children today will be the reality of this nation tomorrow.”

From The Epoch Times

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