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Florida Guv’s School Crackdown Is a Red Scare Throwback

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In 1954, the year after Florida adopted a hardline anti-communist curriculum, feverish stories hit a northeast Florida newspaper. “School Text Praises Communist Fronts,” read one Putnam Sun headline.

What, exactly, were those secret communist messages? A trio of concerned mothers later elaborated to another Florida paper: the textbook American Problems Today painted a favorable picture of the American Civil Liberties Union, and “advocated FEPC [the Fair Employment Practice Committee] and other forms of integration.” A state senator claimed that the textbook taught principles “opposite” to those in the Constitution, and the northeastern Florida teacher who introduced the book to his class was eventually fired.

Years passed. The Red Scare cooled. Florida updated its curriculum for the times. But now those classroom codes are being revised again, with an eerie throwback to the state’s most hardcore Cold War-era education panic.

In recent weeks, Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed into law a series of education edicts. Public school curricula will now teach the “evils” of communism. Schools are prohibited from teaching certain topics on race, including that “racism is embedded in American society and its legal systems.” And a new higher-education law—written as ideologically neutral but promoted by lawmakers who call colleges “socialism factories”—allows for budget cuts to colleges based on student and faculty surveys about “viewpoint diversity.”

The laws’ critics say they’re part of a well precedented, anti-left campaign in the state’s education system.

Dr. Robert Dahlgren,........

© The Daily Beast

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