Florida Governor DeSantis. Source: ABC News
On January 24th 2024, the Board of Education in Florida removed a sociology core course as an option to fulfill general education requirements in all Florida public universities. Over 430,000 students can no longer take the class “Principles of Sociology” to fulfill their general requirements. The decision was passed at the last minute, through the Academic and Student Affairs Committee of the Florida Board of Governors, bypassing the opinion of the faculty committee appointed by Governor DeSantis. The course covered various topics that have been targeted by Florida conservatives, including race, gender, and sexual orientation. The American Sociological Association has called for an immediate reversal of the decision, due to a lack of any evidentiary basis and a misunderstanding of the discipline.
This latest anti-education moves follow a series of similar actions in Florida, including banning the use of public funds for Diversity, Enquiry, and Inclusion (DEI) programs in Florida universities and colleges. Since 2023, 65 cases of Anti-DEI legislation by Republican politicians have been introduced in 25 states and the U.S. Congress. In Florida it was signed into law on February 2023 by Governor Ron DeSantis, following the Stop WOKE Act in 2022, restricting how history is taught in schools. The Education Commissioner, Manny Díaz has said sociology is “hijacked by leftwing activists”. Anne Barrett, a sociology professor at Florida State University worries that the removal of the course would result in enrollments dropping and overall weakened sociology departments across universities, leading to layoffs and department eliminations.
Endangered Scholars Worldwide condemns the removal of sociology courses for general education requirements at public universities. ESW joins the American Sociological Association in demanding an immediate reversal of the decision. ESW further is deeply concerned with DeSantis government’s conservative, anti-democratic, exclusionary agenda for higher education in Florida and the long-term implications of restrictions on higher education and freedom of speech, including the risk to informed debate and critical thinking.
Read more on our Florida coverage here.
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