Peter Greene: Florida’s New Critical Race Theory Gag Rule Will Have A Chilling Effect in Classrooms.
Florida’s version of a critical race theory gag rule is in some ways worse than that of other states. This piece from Forbes.com explains why.
Opponents of CRT seem to feel that history can be taught simply as facts and figures and dates, but that’s an approach that is not very true to historical studies, not to mention boring for school students. And it’s not as easy as some make it sound. For years, the Tulsa Race Massacre was known as the Tulsa Race Riot; simply naming an event can be a choice filled with considerable meaning, interpretation, and point of view. Much more than “simple” facts.
Teachers are forbidden to “share their personal views or attempt to indoctrinate or persuade students to a particular point of view” that is inconsistent with state standards. That’s a huge, vague guideline, making any kind of teacher expression of belief a possible violation.
All of this matters because classroom teachers exist at the place where these kinds of sweeping laws meet actual practice. All teachers in some states know for sure right now is that there’s a big, politically charged line drawn, and nobody knows exactly where it is.
In Kentucky, the penalty for crossing that line is $5,000. But in Florida, it could be far worse.
That’s because Florida years ago abolished due process (what is sometimes called tenure) for teachers.