Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday launched the Civic Literacy Excellence Initiative, a $106 million program to educate public school teachers and students about American history, government, and politics, according to a press release.
“We have a responsibility to ensure our students are prepared to be great citizens,” DeSantis said. “That is why we created a new civics curriculum in Florida and are making this important investment of more than $106 million.”
The initiative funds $3,000 bonuses for teachers who finish a civics-education program and earn the Civics Seal of Excellence endorsement. Florida will spend $65 million on the Civics Seal of Excellence program.
The initiative’s announcement comes amid a nationwide battle to define America’s history and shape the nation’s future.
Critical race theory—an anti-white, neo-Marxist doctrine—teaches students to resent America, to harbor guilt for ancestral crimes (real or merely perceived) and to find personal meaning in left-wing social-justice activism.
Guided by anti-American university theories and the New York Times‘ 1619 Project, public school boards and teachers unions across the country have taken radical steps to redefine America as a nation founded on slavery and genocide.
DeSantis hopes the civics initiative will educate students and teachers in the meaning of July 4, 1776.
“By July 4, 2026, our country’s 250th anniversary, we will make sure every K-12 student in Florida is educated with our new civics curriculum,” DeSantis said.
Another $16.5 million will train teachers and principals, and will provide them with additional materials and support for teaching civics.
Part of this money will go toward creating regional civics coaches who will assist teachers and principals with forming and implementing revamped curricula.
Florida will spend $17.5 million on developing the state’s civics curriculum and implementing the B.E.S.T., or Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking, standards, which ends Common Core.
Finally, the educational initiative will spend $6.5 million to connect high schools with government institutions and agencies, so that students may learn about careers in politics and government.
“Through Governor DeSantis’ bold leadership, Florida is a national model for high quality civics education that benefits both students and educators,” Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran said.
Corcoran also praised a successful civics program that DeSantis launched in January 2020.
“The Florida Civics and Debate Initiative has been a massive success, with 161 schools from 48 districts and more than 5,500 students expected to participate in the 2021-2022 school year,” he said.
Florida wants students to know civics so that they can live well-rounded and fulfilled lives.
“The new Civics Literacy Excellence Initiative also compliments recent legislation that strengthens Florida’s commitment to every child receiving a world class civics education that prepares them to be great citizens who will lead successful lives,” Corcoran said.
In June, DeSantis signed three bills to lay the groundwork for a more vigorous civics education in Florida.
“The sad reality is that only two in five Americans can correctly name the three branches of government, and more than a third of Americans cannot name any of the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment,” DeSantis said upon signing HB 5, SB 1108 and HB 233.
“It is abundantly clear that we need to do a much better job of educating our students in civics to prepare them for the rest of their lives,” he added.