Florida's new civics education training argues Founders' desire for 'separation of church and state' was a 'misconception'

Florida's new civics education training argues Founders' desire for 'separation of church and state' was a 'misconception'
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaking at the Nebraska Steak Fry in Nebraska City, Nebraska on September 12, 2021, Wikimedia Commons

New civics education training for Florida public school teachers reportedly aims to perpetuate inaccurate interpretations about "the separation of church and state," The Washington Post reports.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) along with the state's education department, announced a series of training sessions that will include "10 regional 3-day civics professional learning training sessions," per Business Insider. While the sessions are not state-mandated, it is projected that an estimated 2,500 teachers will sign up just to receive the $700 stipend for attending.

But even with the stipend, many have expressed concern about the topics of discussion for the sessions. Some teachers are also speaking out with critical reactions as they highlight the issues with the sessions.

The Washington Post highlighted that the training "is the statement that it is a 'misconception' that 'the Founders desired strict separation of church and state.'”

"Other materials included fragments of statements that were 'cherry-picked' to present a more conservative view of American history, some attendees said. In a possible effort to inoculate some Founding Fathers against contemporary political complaints, some slides in a presentation pointed out that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson repudiated slavery; unsaid is that both men held enslaved people and helped worked toward a Constitution that enshrined the practice."

The reports about Florida's new civics education training comes amid DeSantis' war on Critical Race Theory (CRT) as he's placed an emphasized focus on civics education. “We’re unabashedly promoting civics and history that is accurate and that is not trying to push an ideological agenda,” DeSantis said during an event held earlier this week.

Speaking to The Post, Anna Fusco, the Broward Teachers Union president, revealed details about the discussions she had with teachers who attended the training. She noted that "union members who attended the training sessions said they were being told to present to students 'only one side of history.'”

One Broward County teacher also shared his assessment of the training. "My takeaway from the training is that civics education in the state of Florida right now is geared toward pushing some particular points of view," Broward County teacher Richard Judd told the news outlet. "The thesis they ran with is that there is no real separation of church and state."

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