“We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?”
- Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
Under a law proposed last week and working through the Florida legislature, I would have to register this blog and pay a registration fee to the state’s ethics commission or the Florida Office of Legislative Services. If enacted, SB 1316 would require anyone writing about DeSantis or other government officials to “submit monthly reports about their work”. They must provide information about “how much payment they received for their articles...and the name of the ‘individual or entity’ who paid them.”
Additionally, last week, DeSantis signed a bill punishing Disney for daring to take a stand against his “Don’t Say Gay” law. He then promptly appointed to the board overseeing Disney infrastructure a pastor who thinks that LGBTQ+ people must be “constrained” so they will no longer be allowed to “flourish.” The pastor also preached that tap water is turning people gay. In making his appointments to this board, the Governor openly expressed a desire for them to pressure Disney to produce “entertainment that all families can appreciate.”
Earlier this year, Brian Covey was fired from his job as a substitute teacher for daring to post a video showing empty bookshelves in a school library in Duval County, Florida. DeSantis called the posting “dishonest” because not all books had been removed from Florida schools. The school district said that they were only “temporarily” removed while government censors determined if they complied with DeSantis’ “anti-woke” laws and other limitations the governor had placed on books available to students. Teachers have been told that making unvetted books available to children could make them liable to be prosecuted for "a felony of the third degree." “Classroom libraries that are curated by teachers…are now illegal.”
It is just a matter of time before Fahrenheit 451 is moved from the fiction to the non-fiction section. That is until it too is banned from the shelves.
These three examples of Florida’s attacks on the First Amendment are just the tip of the iceberg as the state dives headfirst into fascism. At least in California, our students are protected from this insanity. Books by Judy Blume or ones that validate the existence of the LGBTQ+ community are still available in classroom libraries. Teachers can create lesson plans that question a white-washed version of American history without worrying about making students “feel bad.” Except in Los Angeles, our School Board is paying $6 million to the Florida Department of Education to import this insanity to our students.
In a contract approved without discussion, the LAUSD School Board allowed Superintendent Carvalho to use the Florida DOE’s Florida Virtual School to provide services for Los Angeles students enrolled in online programs. No safeguards were put in place to ensure that the curriculum being taught through this program conforms to California’s laws, which celebrate diversity. There is, therefore, no guarantee that these students are not being indoctrinated according to DeSantis’ anti-gay, anti-black, pro-censorship beliefs.
The LAUSD Board is elected to enact the policies of the District and is supposed to hire the Superintendent to put them in place. Instead, from iPad scandals to a $6 million contract with the State of Florida, the board has delegated responsibility to its Superintendents. To institute any meaningful change, the Board needs to take back control. A good place to start might be by asking questions about the contracts Carvalho brings to them, especially the ones involving his former state. Since they dropped the ball in vetting this one, they need to see how to back out before our students are subject to any more indoctrination.
Carl Petersen is a parent advocate for public education, particularly for students with special education needs. He was elected to the Northridge East Neighborhood Council and is the Education Chair. As a Green Party candidate in LAUSD’s District 2 School Board race, he was endorsed by Network for Public Education (NPE) Action. Dr. Diane Ravitch has called him “a valiant fighter for public schools in Los Angeles.” For links to his blogs, please visit www.ChangeTheLAUSD.com. Opinions are his own.
About the Creator
Carl Petersen is a parent advocate for students with SpEd needs and public education. As a Green Party candidate in LAUSD’s District 2 School Board race, he was endorsed by Network for Public Education (NPE) Action. Opinions are his own.