by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The silence of Republican office-holders on the Civics Secures Democracy Act (CSDA) — a bill that would push critical race theory (CRT) on every public school in the country — has just been broken by Florida governor Ron DeSantis. Late last week, DeSantis exposed this supposed federal “civics” bill for what it is: an opportunity for Biden’s education bureaucrats to fill students’ heads with CRT.
Seduced by the lure of what they think is good old-fashioned “civics,” three naïve Republican senators — John Cornyn, Bill Cassidy, and James Inhofe — have signed onto CSDA as co-sponsors. Maybe that’s why Republicans on the Hill have been reluctant to openly criticize this “bipartisan” legislation. Now, however, public opposition from so prominent a Republican office-holder as Ron DeSantis may break the logjam and shift momentum against this dangerous bill.
Last year, DeSantis made a major update to Florida’s civics standards. As revised by DeSantis, Florida’s standards now highlight the benefits of the free market and of America’s constitutional system, while explicitly comparing the advantages of America’s institutions to socialist, communist, and authoritarian regimes. That is not how America’s left-dominated education establishment does civics. Yet it’s exactly what parents in many states want.
Nothing threatens a state’s ability to go this traditional route more than federal grants administered by Biden’s pro-CRT Department of Education. Yet that is what CSDA is. The Civics Secures Democracy Act is a series of baited hooks — civics grants with strings attached by Biden’s leftist bureaucrats. On top of that, CSDA’s state grants are tied to student performance on a national test, which gives the designers of the federal test (who are chosen by Biden) de facto control over state standards and curricula.