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  • Susan Stoderl

Cultural and Civil Literacy Blows Under Florida Education Restrictions

Florida State Board of Education censors class
Cultural and Civil Literacy Blow

The Board recently banned public funds for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs at all twenty-eight state colleges in Florida. It is the second largest number of state colleges serving 430,000 students. This is a severe hit on cultural and civil literacy.

The reason given for cutting sociology was that new state law prohibits “curriculum based on unproven, speculative, or exploratory content.” A definite blow to critical thinking, and teaching innovation and creativity. It should be noted that only one out of seven board members has a background in education.

Paraphrased, the American Sociological Association stated the decision was based upon an uninformed perspective that sociology was an “illegitimate discipline driven by ‘radical’ and ‘woke ideology.’” By definition, sociology is the study of social life, social change, and the social causes and consequences of human behavior. It is based on research, not political bias, and marks a blow to civil literacy.

History of the United States I: Early Colonization to 1877 will replace the Principles of Sociology course. I skimmed the first unit which covers pre-British colonization from 1500 to 1600. After the history, two competing voices add to the discussion. In this sample, the first is a letter from Christopher Columbus to the Spanish royalty regarding the Taino Indians. The second was Bartolomé de Las Casas denouncing the Spanish treatment of the indigenous people in the Indies. My history courses in high school and college were far more detailed in their writing.

Although sociology and history overlap, they are two different fields. Sociology degrees are a requirement for various jobs. However, how can a student determine if they would like to pursue a career in that field or a related one if they are never introduced to it at an introductory level?

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