Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been a consistent critic of the push to indoctrinate children and young adults in his state with so-called “woke” ideologies.
In an effort to curtail the trend, he advanced the Stop WOKE Act designed to, among other things, prevent college professors from including the controversial critical race theory in their curricula.
Critical Race Theory (CRT) is "an attempt to put modern-day leftist ideology into the curriculum, and really treat kids differently based on the color of their skin," says @GovRonDeSantis.
From the FGA video archives: pic.twitter.com/52leiCzAzb
— The FGA (@TheFGA) January 14, 2023
While the measure was resoundingly popular among Florida conservatives, critics pushed back against its restrictions. After the state’s Office of Policy and Budget Director, Chris Spencer requested relevant course and staff information from colleges and universities statewide, opponents took the DeSantis administration to court.
U.S. District Judge Mark E. Walker initially granted plaintiffs a temporary injunction in November, blasting the law as “positively dystopian” and arguing that the state’s “decision to choose which viewpoints are worthy of illumination and which must remain in the shadows has implications for us all.”
Nevertheless, when he received a subsequent complaint alleging that the governor had not complied with that injunction, Walker sided with DeSantis.
“Although this court would not hesitate to compel compliance with its preliminary injunction, this court finds there has been no violation of the injunction at this time,” the judge ruled.
For her part, attorney Leah Watson of the American Civil Liberties Union insisted that Spencer’s memo was a “thinly veiled attempt” to skirt the injunction, adding: “We will continue to monitor for enforcement of the unconstitutional provisions of the Stop WOKE Act and will seek to enforce the court’s preliminary injunction.”
Meanwhile, DeSantis and his staff are still touting the law as a necessary deterrent to the perceived threat of far-left lessons in classrooms and on college campuses across the state.
When he announced the measure more than a year ago, the governor asserted: “In Florida, we are taking a stand against the state-sanctioned racism that is critical race theory. We won’t allow Florida tax dollars to be spent teaching kids to hate our country or to hate each other. We also have a responsibility to ensure that parents have the means to vindicate their rights when it comes to enforcing state standards. Finally, we must protect Florida workers against the hostile work environment that is created when large corporations force their employees to endure CRT-inspired ‘training’ and indoctrination.”