Thomas Gallatin / January 10, 2023

DeSantis Course-Corrects Florida’s Higher Ed

The Florida governor will appoint six new members to New College’s board of trustees in an effort to direct the college away from woke ideology.

In his stirring inaugural address after having won reelection in a landslide, Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis promised to take the leftist woke ideology head-on. DeSantis specifically targeted Florida’s education system, stating, “We must ensure school systems are responsive to parents and to students, not partisan interest groups, and we must ensure that our institutions of higher learning are focused on academic excellence and the pursuit of truth, not the imposition of trendy ideology.”

It didn’t take DeSantis long to begin backing up that promise. His office recently announced that he would appoint six new members to the New College of Florida board of trustees, and those members include Christopher Rufo, Dr. Mark Bauerlein, Dr. Matthew Spalding, Dr. Charles Kesler, Debra Jenks, and Jason “Eddie” Speir. It is an impressive list.

DeSantis Chief of Staff James Uthmeier expressed the governor’s vision for NCF: “It is our hope that New College of Florida will become Florida’s classical college, more along the lines of a Hillsdale of the South.” The governor targeted NCF precisely because the school was specifically created by the state of Florida in 2001 with a mission “combining educational innovation with educational excellence,” and to “provide a quality education to students of high ability who, because of their ability, deserve a program of study that is both demanding and stimulating.”

NCF’s current educational culture reads like a typical woke handbook; it offers a gender studies program that includes “gender identity affirmation resources” where students are helped with legally changing their names and pronouns. The school also has an Office of Inclusive Excellence that promotes the woke diversity, equity, and inclusion agenda across the campus.

DeSantis’s appointees will fill vacancies on the board of 13 trustees. Rufo, who has gained notoriety for exposing and combating the promulgation of critical race theory in America’s schools, welcomed the opportunity to course-correct NCF’s educational value system. “My ambition is to help the new board majority transform New College into a classical liberal arts institution,” he said. “We are recapturing higher education.” Rufo noted that this transformation would include eliminating the “diversity, equity, and inclusion” agenda and replacing it with “equality, merit, and colorblindness.”

There’s a reason DeSantis has become so popular among Republicans and conservatives — he’s a man who believes in the values that made America the great envy of the world. Furthermore, he’s not afraid to use his power as governor to both preserve and ensure that those values are implemented over and against those who are trying to deny them to his constituents.

In targeting Florida’s education system, DeSantis is directly addressing a part of the public sector that conservatives have long been guilty of ceding to the Left. He’s willing to use the power of government to confront and eliminate the dangerous Marxist-based woke ideology that has been corrupting America’s youth; an ideology that has been turning a generation of Americans against their nation. He deserves to be applauded for this.

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