Florida Board of Education approves changes to civics curriculum

The State Board of Education on Wednesday approved a new rule aimed at shaping civic education in public schools. 

The rule, which centers in part on teaching students about characteristics that make an "upright and desirable" citizen, is the culmination of legislation passed by state lawmakers earlier this year.

The rule approved Wednesday directs the state Department of Education to require that students understand the nation’s founding documents. It also involves instilling patriotic values in schoolchildren. 

According to the rule, traits of a desirable citizen include respect for "the military, elected officials, civic leaders, public servants, and all those who have defended the blessings of liberty in pursuit of the common good, even at personal risk." 

The rule also requires that students be taught "how political ideologies, such as communism and totalitarianism, conflict with the principles of freedom and democracy essential to preserving the United States constitutional republic."

Making changes that inject patriotism into the curriculum was a priority of top Republican lawmakers and Gov. Ron DeSantis during the legislative session that ended on April 30. At a bill-signing event in June, DeSantis called the civic curriculum "fundamental." 

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