Florida Governor Ron DeSantis previously announced a three-day citizenship training program for teachers.
Some teachers who attended say they are concerned that the training is one-sided, The Washington Post reported.
The training said it is a “misconception” that “the founders wanted a strict separation of church and state.”
New citizenship education program for Florida teachers promotes inaccurate ideas about separation of church and state, teachers told The Washington Post†
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Department of Education announced that they will host 10 regional three-day professional citizenship training courses for 2,500 teachers this summer to accommodate more than 2,500 teachers by the summer of 2022. The training comes with a stipend of $700.
The FDOE said the training would be “in line with revised citizenship and government standards,” but some teachers have expressed concerns about the instructions.
During a press conference on Thursday, DeSantis said the new citizenship education was pushing back children’s “awakened indoctrination” and said children in the state were learning “real history.”
“We unabashedly promote citizenship and history that is accurate and that does not try to push an ideological agenda,” he said.
According to the Post, the training included the phrase that it is a “misconception” that “the founders wanted a strict separation of church and state.”
“My conclusion from the training is that citizenship education in the state of Florida at the moment is focused on putting forward certain points of view,” Broward County teacher Richard Judd told the Post. “The position they were running with is that there is no real separation of church and state.”
Judd told the Post-Trainers that teachers were told, “This is the way you should think.”
Presentation slides of the training, obtained by The Miami Herald through a public archive request, contain images illustrating that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson opposed slavery, while forgetting to mention that they owned slaves.
Barbara Segal, a 12th grade government teacher at Fort Lauderdale High School, said: the Tampa Bay Times that the training was “very skewed”.
“There was a very strong Christian fundamentalist way of analyzing different citations and different documents. That was worrisome,” Segal said.
Anna Fusco, president of the Broward Teachers Union, told the Post that some of the teachers in attendance told her to present only “one side” of history.
“Then they kind of slipped into a piece about Christian values and ignored the fact that this country is made up of so many different cultures and religions,” Fusco said.
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