Florida’s incoming Republican governor recently announced he was putting together a “41-person team to develop a plan aimed at implementing his education goals”, and on that team are two individuals who want to see evolution and climate change curriculum diminished in the state’s schools.
Stephen Sawchuk of Education Week explains the concerns:
One of them, Keith Flaugh, is the managing director of the Florida Citizens Alliance, a local advocacy organization which supports “individual rights.” In Collier County,Flaugh submitted dozens of objections to science textbooks*, alongside three other residents also affiliated with the FCA.*
***“Man-made global warming [is] presented as fact when it is still very much a theory!” he wrote**in one of the challenges. In another: **“Books that treat evolution as a proven science are discriminating and bully children and families against their religious beliefs.”*
Accompanying Flaugh on DeSantis’ transition team isErika Donalds, the wife of the lawmaker who sponsored the curriculum-challenge law*. Donalds also previously served on the Collier County school board, where **she voted in favor of removing the materials Flaugh and others challenged in that county**.*
Two people out of 41 does not sound overly concerning at first glance, but their addition to the team, Sawchuk noted, could encourage conservatives to push for changes to science education at the local level.
Brandon Haught, the communication director of Florida Citizens for Science, a group that has closely tracked the local challenges,wrote on the group’s blogthat he’s particularly concerned about what happens if DeSantis prioritizes a review of the state’s science standards.
“If it is indeed a ‘complete review’ then I have no doubt that evolution and climate change will be heavily scrutinized in the science standards, especially if Flaugh and Donalds have any role,” he wrote.“Strap in. The next few years are going to be a wild ride.”