Friday, January 26, 2024

ANNALS OF DeSANTISTAN: Florida removes sociology as core course option for public colleges. (WaPo)

These Pharisees are not conservatives, are they? Who would have expected Republicans to become anti-intellectual vapid vipers?  They're charter members of the "ignorant tightass club," as Aaron Sorkin's character, President Jeb Barlet called them in The West Wing:

From The Washington Post: 

Florida removes sociology as core course option for public colleges

To replace sociology, the Florida Board of Governors added an American history class which it described as a ‘factual history course’

Students move between classes on the University of Florida campus Sept. 1, 2021, in Gainesville, Florida. (Phelan M. Ebenhack/For The Washington Post)
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Florida will no longer allow a sociology course to count toward students’ graduation requirements at state universities, replacing it with a class officials say will teach “factual history” in a decision critics say was fueled by political motivations.

The 17-member Florida Board of Governors, which oversees public universities in the state, on Wednesday removed a “Principles of Sociology” class from its list of approved core course options, despite outcry from some sociology professors. The board replaced the sociology requirement with a course called “Introductory Survey to 1877,” which members said will provide a “historically accurate account of America’s founding, the horrors of slavery, the resulting Civil War, and the Reconstruction Era.”

When asked about the change, a spokesperson for Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. referred The Washington Post to a December tweet in which he claimed sociology had been “hijacked by left-wing activists and no longer serves its intended purpose.”

State universities, he added in the tweet, would “focus on preparing students for high-demand, high-wage jobs, not woke ideology.”

The American Sociological Association said in a statement Thursday that it was “outraged” by the change, which it argued stemmed from “a gross misunderstanding of sociology as an illegitimate discipline driven by ‘radical’ and ‘woke’ ideology.” The organization, which had previously written a public comment against the change, urged the Florida Board of Governors to reinstate sociology as a core course, saying the subject is “at the core of civic literacy.”

“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 American Sociological Association said.

Most of the Board of Governors’ 17 members are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state senate to serve seven-year terms. Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) appointed a majority of the current board members.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) throws pens into the crowd after signing education bills at Cambridge Christian school in Tampa on May 17, 2023. (Thomas Simonetti/For The Washington Post)

Wednesday’s decision, which applies to the state university system’s 12 schools and more than 430,000 students, is the latest in a series of changes to Florida classrooms, which for years have been subject to restrictions on what can be taught about race, racism, history, sexual orientation and gender identity at both the K-12 and college levels.

The state has seen several high-profile fights over allegedly “woke” courses that conservatives claim reflect the ideological priorities of the political left. Many of these conflicts first centered on K-12 offerings.

Last year, Florida refused to accept a newly created Advanced Placement course on Black history, with a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Education saying it “lacks educational value and is contrary to Florida law.” DeSantis blasted the class as “woke.” Florida also rejected a host of math and social studies textbooks for alleged references to prohibited subjects, including “critical race theory,” a legal framework examining systemic racism which has become a conservative catchall for politically motivated teaching about race.

In August, the state disallowed all AP Psychology classes because they violated some of Florida’s new restrictive education laws — although, after days of confusion, Florida’s education commissioner reversed the decision. And at one point, DeSantis threatened to rid Florida of all AP classes across the board, citing frustration with the College Board over courses the governor deemed left-leaning.

The removal of sociology as a core course option was first proposed in November. The Florida Board of Governors opened a two-week public comment period that month before voting to approve the change this week.

Jukka Savolainen, a sociology professor at Wayne State University in Detroit, who wrote an op-ed that Diaz referenced in his tweet about the social science being “woke,” said the board’s move was unsurprising given Florida’s political landscape.

Savolainen acknowledged in his op-ed a rift between sociology scholars who “are openly activists” and others who have stayed solely committed to the “science side.” He told The Post after the board’s decision that while he doesn’t support the move, he is concerned about activism becoming more commonplace in his field.

On Wednesday, students at Florida State University, where the Board of Governors meeting was held, gathered to protest the group’s decision to replace the sociology requirement.

Genesi Licona, a Florida State student who took the introductory sociology course, told WTXL: “It just allows me to look at every other one of my classes with a deeper understanding of why we do what we do as humans.”

Praveena Somasundaram is a reporter on The Washington Post's Morning Mix desk. She joined The Post as an intern on the General Assignment desk and has previously reported at the Dallas Morning News and the Charlotte Observer. Twitter
Hannah Natanson is a Washington Post reporter covering national K-12 education. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Anything that promotes critical thinking they'll go against. Conservative Republicans are anti-intellectual these days.