DeSantis signs bill requiring lessons about ‘atrocities’ of communism for all grades

The lessons are required to be “age appropriate” and would begin in the 2026-2027 school year.

Tampa Bay Times | By Ana Ceballos | April 17, 2024

Florida public schools will be required to teach students from kindergarten through 12th grade about the history of communism under a bill signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday.

The lessons will be required to be “age appropriate and developmentally appropriate” for each grade and will be developed by the Florida Department of Education. Among the required instruction, which would begin in the 2026-27 school year: lessons on the history of communism in the United States, the “increasing threat of communism in the United States” and the “atrocities committed in foreign countries under the guidance of communism.”

“My view is we might as well give them the truth when they are in our schools, because a lot of these universities will tell them how great communism is, so we are setting the proper foundation,” DeSantis said at a news conference at the Hialeah Gardens Museum.

DeSantis signed the bill on the 63rd anniversary of the Bay of Pigs invasion, the last attempt by Cuban exiles to overthrow the communist regime of Fidel Castro.

“We are committed to telling the truth about this ideology and we are going to make sure that people have a very accurate understanding of the human carnage that has resulted from communist regimes throughout history,” DeSantis said.

In addition to the required public school instruction, the bill creates the Institute for Freedom in the Americas in Miami Dade College, whose goal will be to “preserve the ideals of a free society and promote democracy in the Americas.”

The institute will be located at the college’s Freedom Tower in downtown Miami and will partner with Florida International University’s Adam Smith Center for Economic Freedom to offer workshops, symposiums and conferences.

“Through the institute, both FIU and Miami Dade College will partner to make sure that we preserve democracy in the Americas,” Miami Dade College President Madeline Pumariega said at the news conference. “We are as good as our memory is.”

Pumariega added that she believes the new law will help ensure no student in Florida “ever romanticizes socialism.”

The new law will also set in motion a plan to create a museum on the history of communism. The Department of State and the Department of Education must give a recommendation to the Legislature no later than Dec. 1 on what that would entail.

DeSantis said he suspects Miami officials will have an interest in having the museum be located in the county.

“I am sure there’s going to be a lot of people down here that are going to want to see it located down here in Miami,” DeSantis said. “We will see how that works out.”

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