Ron DeSantis condemned as Florida removes sociology as core college class
Category: News & PoliticsBy: kavika • one month ago • 40 comments
E ducators are warning that college enrollment in Florida will plummet after the state removed sociology as a core class from campuses in the latest round of Ron DeSantis’s war on “woke ideology”.
The Republican governor’s hand-picked board of education voted on Wednesday to replace the established course on the principles of sociology at its 12 public universities with its own US history curriculum, incorporating an “historically accurate account of America’s founding [and] the horrors of slavery”.
The removal as a required core course of sociology classes, which Florida education commissioner and staunch DeSantis acolyte Manny Díaz insisted without evidence had “been hijacked by leftwing activists ,” follows several other recent “anti-woke” moves in education in Florida.
They include the banning an advanced placement class in African American studies , and last week’s board ruling crystalizing a plan by DeSantis, who dropped out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination at the weekend, to abolish diversity, enquiry and inclusion (DEI) programs in Florida’s universities and colleges.
The American Sociological Association said there was no evidentiary basis for replacing the sociology course.
“This decision seems to be coming not from an informed perspective, but rather from a gross misunderstanding of sociology as an illegitimate discipline driven by ‘radical’ and ‘woke’ ideology,” the American Sociological Association said in a statement to the Guardian.
“Sociology is the scientific study of social life, social change, and the social causes and consequences of human behavior, which are at the core of civic literacy and are essential to a broad range of careers.
“Failure to prioritize the scientific study of the causes and consequences of human behavior is a failure of Florida’s commitment to providing high-quality civics education and workforce readiness.”
The association called for the board to reverse its “outrageous” decision.
Anne Barrett, a professor of sociology at Florida State University, said the ruling was the latest attack by DeSantis and his allies in the “culture wars they are waging” on campuses.
“These regulations are devastating for sociology in Florida. Enrollments will plummet. The opportunity to recruit majors will almost disappear. Weakened sociology departments are ripe for elimination and, ultimately, faculty layoffs,” she said in an essay for the National Education Association.
“The costs to society are higher still. Sociology students learn how to use empirical research and logic to assess the accuracy of claims made about the social world. They also gain skills to critique how power is distributed.
“In short, they are positioned to be engaged citizens, armed with the power to destabilize right-wing policy makers’ agendas, and this is the threat these regulations seek to neutralize.”
Ray Rodrigues, chancellor of the state university system of Florida’s board of governors, praised the ruling for the “positive impact the addition of this [US history] course will have on our students and their future success”.
Díaz, however, has taken a more political approach to the board’s recent rulings, echoing DeSantis’s stance that college campuses are a hotbed of radical left activism in need of reform. Last year the governor engineered a rightwing takeover of a popular liberal arts college .
“Higher education must return to its essential foundations of academic integrity and the pursuit of knowledge instead of being corrupted by destructive ideologies,” Díaz said following last week’s DEI ruling.
“These actions today ensure that we will not spend taxpayers’ money supporting DEI and radical indoctrination that promotes division in our society.”
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