What Florida’s New ‘Patriotic’ Civics Course Standards Will Look Like

Florida civics standards have been revised with a focus on religious founding ideals, and an urgency to promote patriotism.

By Erika Hanson | Published

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florida civics

Civics classes have long been a part of public education in America. The purpose and directive of these classes are said to vary immensely state by state, as experts argue over what the true purpose of these classes should be. Florida civics standards have long been a pillar in education. Now, the southern state has revamped these classes’ virtues, with a major focus on patriotism and pride for the nation. 

EdWeek recently reported that Florida civics standards for public schools have gone through the process of updating how the class is taught for middle school and high school students. Shifting gears and making plenty of changes, the general purpose of these classes will step away from common practices where students learn about democracy in hands-on approaches such as mock classroom elections. In its place, the major focus will be on patriotism and a focus on educating students about the founding principles of the nation, along with how Christianity is structured around this. 

These revisions to Florida civics standards were first championed by Republic Gov. Ron DeSantis back in 2019. At the time, DeSantis signed House Bill 807 into law. The new legislation made it mandatory for all schools to review the state’s standards for civics. Within two years, measures were fully revised. Now, the new standards touted to emphasize patriotism among students will officially go into effect at the beginning of the 2023-2024 school year.

With the help of staff from Hillsdale College, the conservative institute which guided the state in concocting the new standards, teachers will spend the next year attending various training programs to catch them up on how Florida civics classes should be structured. Educators will be given a crash course to emphasize founding ideals, along with how religion played into them. Likewise, educators will boast of American exceptionalism, instilling a sense of patriotism in students. 

Now that teachers are learning about what the new focus on Florida civics will be, some are worried about how these discussions will go over in class. Some fear that it will take away with core ideals of a civics education, as some noted fears about their ability to properly teach about historic events without undermining the new standards’ purpose of pride. What’s more, some educators are worried about how recent laws barring critical race theory and “WOKE” discussions could play into this.

When DeSantis signed the Stop WOKE Act into law a few months ago, it barred teachers from discussing matters that could be deemed divisive, or set forth in a way that might make students feel guilty about their race. Even more worrisome to others, is how promoting patriotism will go over with certain students. One teacher noted that in today’s polarized world, just the word patriotism alone can trigger many people. This civics teacher is nervous that this new Florida civics format may blur the line between what is real patriotism, and what events like the January 6th storming of the capital were. 

Florida civics
Gov. Ron DeSantis

Helmed by Gov. DeSantis, Florida education has been setting standards all year long, and leading the way for sweeping reformation of public education, and not just Florida civics. With all eyes on the southern state, other red states are likely to take notice. Patriotic civics standards might soon become the norm for others as well.