DeSantis signs bill to make curriculum more transparent for parents

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis wants to pull back the curriculum curtain.

Arguing that some schools intentionally keep parents in the dark about coursework, DeSantis signed into law Friday giving families the right to know what’s happening once the bell rings.

“There are some who say that parents don’t even have the right to know what is being taught,” DeSantis said at a news conference. “There are actually some places where you can make serious decisions for these kids without letting the parents know. That will not fly in the state of Florida.”

The Republican governor claimed that sexually graphic books have found their way into school libraries across the country – and that his bill will allow parents to file complaints without administrative reprisals.

“Some people say if you don’t have every book under the sun in the library, you want to ban books,” DeSantis said. “That is not true.”

Calling some of the things “incredibly disturbing” and inappropriate for young children, DeSantis said schools shouldn’t be able to keep curricula out.

DeSantis holds press conference.
DeSantis held a press conference announcing the changes to the Florida school curriculum.

Rebecca Sarwi, a Florida mom from Volusia County, said she was dismayed to discover a sexually explicit book in her school’s library.

“It was an insightful experience of how far they would hold their power,” she said.

Sarwi said her children were being immersed in age-inappropriate material “from all angles” and “without our knowledge or consent or availability to indicate them beforehand.”

The mother said she became so disillusioned that she eventually withdrew her children from public school and homeschooled them.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks with Renaissance Charter School teachers Tiqkia Barrow, left, and Loren Temes at the school in Wellington, Florida.
DeSantis talks to teachers at Renaissance Charter School.
Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun-Sentinel/AP

“But not every family will be able to do the same,” she said. “That’s why this law is so important. Ensuring transparency in our children’s curriculum and building trust where it has been so terribly broken.”

Recent years have seen bitter confrontations between parents, teachers, administrators and school board members over everything from mask and vaccination policies to classroom issues.

“You have some people who get elected to these school boards who are ideological,” DeSantis said. “They are supported by special interests and they have certain ideas that aren’t necessarily in the best interests of the children, the parents and I would argue the teachers.”

The divisive governor, who is seen as a potential Republican presidential nominee for 2024, claimed secret schools are rare in Florida – but he still wants to ensure parental access.

“Nobody invests more in the well-being of their children than the parents themselves,” he said.

DeSantis credited the pandemic with a surge of new parental activism, claiming families were abruptly exposed to their children’s coursework during distance learning.

The new bill also provides term limits for members of the Florida School Board. DeSantis signs bill to make curriculum more transparent for parents


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