Gov. Ron DeSantis’ push for ‘civics’ education: What does it look like?

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recently said that if elected president in 2024he would push for civics education about the founding principles of the United States to celebrate the country’s upcoming 250th anniversary.

Florida’s America-focused education requirements 

DeSantis signed several policies into law in 2021 that set off a wave of new educational requirements about the country and its founding.

One law, House Bill 5, requires implementation of “patriotic programs,” which includes teaching students about accepting “responsibility for preserving and defending the blessings of liberty inherited from prior generations and secured by the United States Constitution.”

What is civics education?

Civics education in the U.S., according to the National Center for Education Statistics, refers to the knowledge and skills in “democratic citizenship, government, and American constitutional democracy.” Surveys on American civics knowledge often focus on whether respondents can name presidential candidates, the branches of government, what the Constitution does, and more.

According to the 2022 Annenberg Public Policy Center survey, less than half of respondents — 47% — could name all three branches of government. One in four respondents said they couldn’t name any of the First Amendment freedoms.

Over half of respondents — 51% — wrongfully believe that Facebook must let all Americans express themselves freely on its platform under the First Amendment.

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