Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis proposed legislation Wednesday to ban state funding from schools that teach critical race theory and prohibits corporations from including it in employee training programs.
DeSantis announced the Stop WOKE Act at a Wednesday press conference, blasting critical race theory and "wokeness" as "an attempt to delegitimize our history and to delegitimize our institutions" — and calling the training a "cottage industry" that’s raking in "huge amounts of money."
"Our legislation would defund any money from K-12 to higher ed going to CRT," DeSantis said at the press conference, the Washington Examiner reported.
"I view the wokeness as a form of cultural Marxism," DeSantis continued. "They want to tear at the fabric of our society and our culture, really things we’ve taken for granted, like the ability of parents to direct the upbringing of their kids."
"No taxpayer dollars should be used to teach our kids to hate our country or to hate each other," he added.
He also blasted CRT and equity training as having become cottage industries, Newsweek reported.
"This has become a cottage industry — the CRT. There's people making huge amounts of money," DeSantis said, Newsweek reported. "They basically will get tens of thousands of dollars to go in and do a training, sometimes in schools, sometimes in business, basically saying 'Okay, pay me $50,000 so I can teach your employees how racist capitalism is.'"
"This issue is that you have these whole cottage industries of these consultants that will come and they'll go into a school district or they'll go to a business or they'll go to colleges and universities and they bring a lot of this into those institutions and they call it 'equity,'" he added. "Just understand when you hear 'equity' used that it's just an ability for people to smuggle in their ideology."
According to the Washington Examiner, if adopted, the legislative proposal would expand the governor’s directive to the Florida Department of Education earlier this year that prohibited the inclusion of CRT in public schools. The new law also treats businesses that require CRT training as maintaining a "hostile work environment" under Florida law.
"How is it not a hostile work environment to be attacking people based on their race or telling them that they’re privileged or part of oppressive systems when all they’re doing is showing up to work and trying to earn a living?" DeSantis said, the Washington Examiner reported.
"We believe that this corporate CRT is basically corporate sanctioned racism and they're trying to shove it down these employees' throats. We believe that that violates the Florida civil rights laws, but if to the extent it doesn't, we're going to make sure that the law does include this."
DeSantis, who is running for reelection as governor in 2022, is widely seen as a potential 2024 presidential contender.
"We have a responsibility to stand for the truth, to stand for what’s right, and we’re doing that, and we’ve put more resources and emphasis on teaching civics, on teaching people about American history," the Florida governor said. "But we also have to protect people and protect our kids from some very pernicious ideologies that are trying to be forced upon them all across the country."
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