DeSantis to reward teachers with $3K bonus for refresher training on civics

Social studies teachers discuss lesson plan
Photo: Allison Shelley/EDUimages

(The Center Square) – Gov. Ron DeSantis wants Florida teachers to emphasize civic education and reward those who do with a $3,000 bonus.

The second-term Republican held a news conference in Orange Park Thursday to discuss the importance of teaching American civics and how it is being better implemented in Florida for school students.

Teachers were also encouraged to take refresher lessons on civics, and the first 20,000 teachers that signed up to take part in the workshops were eligible to receive a $3,000 bonus. A further 14,000 teachers are now on the waitlist.

“The one thing that you’ll do, regardless of what you decide to do as a young person, everybody is going to be called upon to do the duties of an American citizen. That is something we take seriously in Florida.” DeSantis said.

DeSantis noted that it is a responsibility of the state to graduate students with a proper foundation of what it means to be an American and pointed out that knowledge amongst younger generations on their civic duties and how government functions is severely lacking.

“We created a Civic Seal of Excellence endorsement for teachers who go above and beyond to learn about the principles that make our country great and teach those principles in the classroom.” DeSantis said.

The governor has also awarded $6.5 million to Polk State College, Broward College and Florida State College at Jacksonville to establish civics academies in partnership with local school districts. These academies will begin instruction for 1,000 students in August. 

Students in the Sunshine State are also encouraged to take part in high school debate teams and DeSantis noted that it is an important skill to learn, because it teaches students to look at issues from different perspectives.

“So much of the stuff that gets spewed in our political sphere nowadays is just nonsense, it’s not based on sound reasoning, it’s not based on evidence, it’s not based on logic.” DeSantis said.

The Florida Civic Literacy Exam has also been established as part of the high school curriculum and those students who are able to demonstrate knowledge of American civics in high school, will not have to do post-secondary civics requirements when they get to college or university.

“We’ve also emphasized the idea that teaching people about the American experiment is important, we also want to give them a frame of reference so they can better appreciate what we have here in America.” DeSantis said.

DeSantis added that Florida was the first state to have a specific day, November 7, designated to teach students about the victims of communist regimes throughout history.

A “Portraits and Patriotism” video series has also been made as a resource for students and includes interviews with people who have lived under and escaped from communism.

“These are people that realize that freedom is not something you can take for granted.” DeSantis said.

DeSantis added that America has always been the place where people know they can come and be free and said that it is very important for students to hear these stories so they can better understand the liberties they have.

Andrew Powell
Andrew Powell is a contributor for The Center Square.

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