Ron DeSantis on Education



Make universities back federal student loans

We're going to provide help with the student loans, but not the way the Democrats want. I think it's wrong that taxpayers would have to pick up the burden on somebody's student loan. The universities have facilitated a lot of the debt. Because they're happy if you're going 6 years to get a 4-year degree because you get more loans--they grow their administrative budgets. So we're going to have the universities be responsible for backing the student loans. That's going to change the incentives. Universities are going to have an incentive to graduate people on time, and to get them in programs that they're going to be gainfully employed. So, you're going to have less Zombie Studies. You're going to have more engineering. You're going to have more things that are practical.

A degree from a 4-year brick-and-Ivy university is one way you can be successful. It's not the only way. We need to tell young people that there are multiple pathways, including work force education & the skilled trades.

Source: CNN Town Hall: interviews of 2024 presidential candidates , Jan 16, 2024

Don't make truck drivers pay for brick-&-ivy gender studies

Another thing that's burdening young people are these student loans. Now, I don't support having a truck driver having to pay a student loan for someone that got a degree in gender studies. That is wrong, we should not have taxpayers do that. What I'm going to do though is I'm going to get to the root cause of the problem. These student loans are going to be backed by the universities because they need to have an incentive to produce gainful employment for people. They should not be indulging in ideological studies. They should be focusing on things that work, and we're going to take some of this money and we're going to move it to actual vocational training. In Florida, we doubled apprenticeships. We have more truck drivers, these are in- demand skills. Don't let anybody tell you that the only way you can be successful is through a four-year brick-and-ivy degree. That's one way you can be, it's not the only way, and we're going to fix that problem in the United States of America.
Source: NewsNation 2023 Republican primary debate in Alabama , Dec 6, 2023

We need education in this country; not indoctrination

The decline in education is one of the major reasons why our country is in decline. We need education in this country, not indoctrination in this country. We have to make sure that what our schools are doing is focusing on solid academics. In Florida, we eliminated Critical Race Theory from our K through 12 schools. We eliminated gender ideology from our K through 12 schools. We have elevated the importance of American civics and teaching our kids about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
Source: Fox News 2023 Republican primary debate in Milwaukee , Aug 23, 2023

Expands school choice program; ends financial requirements

HB1/SB202: Revises provisions relating to Family Empowerment Scholarship Program, FL Tax Credit Scholarship Program.

ACLU-FL in opposition: Defunds our public schools and diverts billions of public taxpayer dollars to mostly private Christian religious schools that lack standards of accountability and have a history of discriminating against LGBTQ+ students, students of minority religions, and students with disabilities.

Governor's P.R. in favor 3/27: Florida is number one when it comes to education freedom and education choice, and today's bill signing represents the largest expansion of education choice in the history of the US. When you combine private scholarships, charter schools, and district choice programs, Florida already has 1.3 million students attending a school of their choosing.

Legislative Outcome: Passed House 83-27-9 on Mar/17/23; passed Senate 26-12-2 on Mar/23/23; signed by Governor Ron DeSantis on Mar/27/23.

Source: Presidential 2024 press release on Florida voting record HB1 , Mar 27, 2023

Don't sow doubts among children about gender identity

DeSantis several times called instruction around gender identity and sexual orientation the "gender bread man," a reference to an educational tool.

"This is trying to sow doubt about kids about their gender identity. It's trying to say that you know, they can be whatever they want to be. This is inappropriate for kindergarteners and first graders and second graders. Parents do not want this going on in their schools," he added.

Source: The Hill on 2022 Florida Gubernatorial race , Mar 28, 2022

Restrict teaching sexual orientation/gender identity

HB1557: Parental Rights in Education; Requires district school boards to adopt procedures for notifying student's parent of specified information

Summary by NPR (3/28/22): The bill, which some opponents have called "Don't Say Gay," was signed by DeSantis. It reads, "Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards."

Legislative outcome: Passed House 69-47-3 on Feb/24/22; passed Senate 22-17-0 on Mar/8/22; Signed by Governor Ron DeSantis on Mar/28/22

Source: NPR on Florida State Legislature voting records SB7026 , Mar 28, 2022

Provide parents with means to enforce state standards

While it is important to embrace high academic standards and to measure student achievement, the FSA test is not the best way to do it. I am proposing the elimination of the FSA and replacing it with periodic progress monitoring. This will lead to meaningful feedback for parents and teachers and reduce the time dedicated to testing, leaving more time for learning. This reform will be better for students, teachers and parents, and it will help Florida remain a leader in education reform.

Florida has enacted a Parents' Bill of Rights and we reject the notion that parents shouldn't have a say in what their kids learn in school. Indeed, Florida law should provide parents with the right to review the curriculum used in their children's schools. We should provide parents with recourse so that state standards are enforced, such as Florida's prohibition on infusing subjects with critical race theory in our classrooms.

Source: 2022 State of the State Address to the Idaho legislature , Jan 11, 2022

Make sure people are not supporting critical race theory

HANNITY: No matter how many times you've answered about are you considering a run for the presidency in 2024, they still keep asking you.

DESANTIS: Yeah, I'm not considering anything beyond doing my job. I'm going to be running for re-election next year, and we're also working on a lot of things beyond the governor's race. We want to make sure people are not supporting critical race theory, making sure that, you know, parents have the ability to send their kid to school the way they want to.

Source: FOX News on 2022 Florida Gubernatorial race , Sep 29, 2021

Signed bills to protect religious freedom in Florida

[On school policy]: "Every family in our state should be able to send their children to school and know that they will be protected from harm and be able to practice their faith," said Governor Ron DeSantis. "I'm proud to sign these bills today to help protect religious freedom in Florida and increase the safety and security of our Jewish communities. I will continue to make sure that in Florida we root out anti-Semitism, and that every day we show our support for Israel and our Jewish communities."
Source: Governor press release for 2022 Florida gubernatorial race , Jun 14, 2021

COVID: other states not opening schools a policy blunder

The failure of so many places outside of Florida to open schools at the beginning of the school year will go down as one of the biggest policy blunders of our time. Florida did not make that mistake. We followed the data and stood by our parents and students. We ignored the political posturing and fear-mongering and did what was right for Floridians. Florida has succeeded where so many other states have failed in providing opportunities for its students.
Source: 2021 State of the State Address to the Florida legislature , Mar 2, 2021

Rejects education cuts, launched civics initiative

I reject reductions in funding for K-12 education. The Legislature answered my call to increase the average minimum salary for teachers, taking Florida from the bottom half of states to the top 5. Let us keep this momentum going. We are beginning to place a strong--and long overdue--emphasis on vocational education. Florida has launched an ambitious civics initiative so that students can understand the principles that make our country unique. Florida is leading on education.
Source: 2021 State of the State Address to the Florida legislature , Mar 2, 2021

Boost teacher's minimum salary to $47,500

I am recommending we take a bold step of setting a minimum salary for public school teachers at $47,500, bringing Florida from the bottom half of states to number 2 in the nation. This will make it easier to get talented college graduates to enter the profession and will help us retain many of the good teachers we have now. My plan will lead to a substantial pay increase for over 100,000 current teachers throughout the state.
Source: 2020 Florida State of the State address , Jan 14, 2020

Parents should have public school choice

All Florida parents, regardless of income or zip code, should have the ability to choose the best school for their children. This isn't limited to scholarship programs but also includes public school choice. When we increase educational choice and provide innovative learning opportunities, we can help students reach their full potential. Results matter and accountability is needed.
Source: 2020 Florida State of the State address , Jan 14, 2020

Invest in higher ed; focus on job skills

I'm proud that Florida's university system is ranked #1 in the nation. Skills-based education offers a focused, and often more cost-effective means, by which students can acquire the tools to be successful. I have proposed a plan to take Florida from middle of the pack to number 1 in workforce education by 2030. Our initiatives include grants to place students in apprenticeships, money to train teachers in computer science and funds for workforce programs within our state college system.
Source: 2019 State of the State address to the Florida legislature , Mar 5, 2019

Prioritize attracting and retaining great teachers

We need to do more to recruit, retain and reward great teachers. To this end, I have proposed replacing Best and Brightest bonus program with a revised $423 million program that will reward more than 40,000 teachers with bonuses approaching $10k. I'm also requesting $10 million for a tuition and loan forgiveness program for as many as 1,700 teachers who commit to teaching in Florida schools for 5 years. Attracting and keeping great teachers in our classrooms should be a high priority.
Source: 2019 State of the State address to the Florida legislature , Mar 5, 2019

Expand Tax Credit Scholarships for school choice

Florida has expanded opportunity through the Tax Credit Scholarship program for students from low-income families. More than 100,000 students--nearly 70% of whom are African-American or Hispanic, with an average family income of roughly $26,000 per year--are utilizing the scholarship. More low-income families would like the opportunity to obtain a scholarship for their kids. Let's stand with working moms and empower them to choose the best learning environment for their kids.
Source: 2019 State of the State address to the Florida legislature , Mar 5, 2019

Expand both charters & vouchers

Q: Increase funding for K-12 education?

Ron DeSantis (R): No statements found on funding, but prefers setting policy at local level.

Andrew Gillum (D): Yes. Proposes a $1 billion "Fair Share" investment in public schools covered by increasing state's corporate tax rate & legalizing & taxing marijuana.

Q: Education: Support the expansion of charter schools or help parents send their children to private schools with public money?

Ron DeSantis (R): Yes. Expand both charters & vouchers. Let federal dollars follow students to any schools their families choose.

Andrew Gillum (D): No. Against vouchers & "unaccountable, for-profit charter schools who use public dollars to enrich their executives."

Source: 2018 CampusElect.org Issue Guide on Florida Governor race , Oct 9, 2018

Fund training for high schoolers who enter workforce

Q: Increase state funding for higher education?

Ron DeSantis (R): No statements found on state funding, but more training support for students who enter workforce from high school.

Andrew Gillum (D): Yes. Wants to make college debt-free for professions like nursing & teaching. Also higher pay for adjuncts.

Source: 2018 CampusElect.org Issue Guide on Florida Governor race , Oct 9, 2018

Expand voucher and charters; stop Common Core

DeSantis supports the school-choice policies Florida Republicans have passed in their 20 years in power, specifically, expanding charter-school and voucher programs. He's also praised [Republican primary opponent Adam] Putnam's platform of encouraging more vocational education and training.

DeSantis also wants to "stop Common Core"-- the standards adopted by 45 out of 50 states as a way to improve education--but the steps he'd take to unwind them is unclear. The standards were criticized by conservatives as a top-down approach to education, and lawmakers responded by tweaking and renaming them "Florida standards" in 2014.

[Democratic gubernatorial opponent Andrew] Gillum wants to spend an additional $1 billion on education, part of which would go toward increasing the minimum salary for teachers to $50,000 per year, and for early-education and vocational programs.

Source: Orlando Sentinel on 2018 Florida gubernatorial race , Aug 31, 2018

Opposes federal grants for education reforms.

DeSantis opposes the PVS survey question on education reform

Project Vote Smart infers candidate issue stances on key topics by summarizing public speeches and public statements. Congressional candidates are given the opportunity to respond in detail; about 11% did so in the 2012 races.

Project Vote Smart summarizes candidate stances on the following topic: 'Education: Do you support requiring states to implement education reforms in order to be eligible for competitive federal grants?'

Source: Project Vote Smart 12-PVS-q7 on Aug 30, 2012

Denounce the Common Core State Standards.

DeSantis co-sponsored Resolution against Common Core

Congressional summary:: Strongly denouncing the President`s coercion of States into adopting the Common Core State Standards by conferring preferences in Federal grants:

    Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that--
  1. States and local educational agencies should maintain the right and responsibility of determining educational curricula;
  2. the Federal Government should not incentivize the adoption of common education standards; and
  3. no application process for any Federal grant funds should provide any preference for the adoption of the Common Core State Standards.

    Opponent`s argument against (CoreStandards.org): The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. 45 states have adopted the Common Core State Standards [not adopted in TX, NE, AK, MN, and VA]. The nation`s governors and education commissioners, through their representative organizations the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) led the development of the Common Core State Standards and continue to lead the initiative. Teachers, parents, school administrators and experts from across the country together with state leaders provided input into the development of the standards.

    Source: HRes.476 & SRes.345 14-HR0476 on Feb 11, 2014

    A-PLUS lets states escape No Child Left Behind.

    DeSantis voted YEA A-PLUS Amendment To Student Success Act

    Heritage Action Summary: An amendment offered by Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) and Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) to the Student Success Act (H.R. 5). The amendment, known as A-PLUS (Academic Partnerships Lead Us to Success), would give the states the ability to consolidate their federal education funds and use them for any lawful education purpose they deem beneficial.

    Heritage Foundation recommendation to vote YES: (7/8/2015): A-PLUS lets states escape No Child Left Behind`s prescriptive programmatic requirements. At its core, A-PLUS delivers on the promise of `restoring state and local control over the 10% of education funding financed by the federal government,` moving dollars out of the hands of federal bureaucrats and political appointees and into the hands of those closer to the students. Now is the time for Congress to restore federalism in education, empower parents and students instead of bureaucrats and unions, and remove archaic obstacles that have prevented true opportunity for all.

    US News and World Report recommendation to vote NO: (4/7/2015): A-PLUS [is intended as] a no-strings-attached block grant. There isn`t all that much the federal government can do well in education, but it`s because of federally-required transparency that charter schools and voucher schools can demonstrate that they work. For example, New York City`s Success Academy scores in the top 1% of all the state`s public schools in math and in the top 3% in English. When Success Academy came under fire from teachers` union-backed Mayor Bill de Blasio, it was able to fight back with numbers to prove it. If a strong-union state were to receive a no-strings-attached block grant, transparency would be the first thing to go. A no-strings-attached block grant is an overreaction to federal overreach.

    Legislative outcome: Failed House 195 to 235 (no Senate vote)

    Source: Congressional vote 15-H0005 on Jul 8, 2015

    Vouchers break link of low-income and low-quality schools.

    DeSantis voted YEA SOAR Act

    Heritage Action Summary: The House will vote to reauthorize the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR) Act (H.R. 10). The bill would continue funding through Fiscal Year 2021 and allow eligible students in Washington, D.C. to enroll in a participating private school.Analysis by Heritage Action:

    ACLU recommendation to vote NO: (Letter to U.S.House, 3/29/2011): The ACLU urges Congress to oppose the SOAR Act, legislation to restart and expand Washington DC`s failed private and religious school voucher pilot program. Originally started as a five-year pilot program in 2004, the DC voucher program is the nation`s first and only federally-funded private and religious school voucher program. Under the federal voucher pilot program, funds were provided to schools even though they infuse their curricular materials with specific religious content and even though they are not covered by many of the nation`s civil rights statutes that would otherwise protect students against discrimination. Additionally, each of the congressionally-mandated studies to explore the pilot program concluded that the voucher program had no significant effect on the academic achievement.

    Cato Institute recommendation to vote YES: (4/28/2016): The Obama administration has repeatedly worked to undermine or eliminate the DC school choice program, even though it has the support of local Democratic politicians such as the DC Mayor and a majority of the DC City Council. Low-income students shouldn`t be condemned to low-quality schools just because their parents cannot afford a home in a wealthy neighborhood. The DC program was an important step toward breaking the link between home prices and school quality.

    Legislative outcome: Passed by the House 240-191-3; never came to a vote in the Senate.

    Source: Congressional vote 15-H0010 on Oct 21, 2015

    Other candidates on Education: Ron DeSantis on other issues:
    2024 Republican Presidential Candidates:
    Ryan Binkley (R-TX)
    Gov. Doug Burgum (R-ND)
    Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ)
    Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL)
    Larry Elder (R-CA;withdrew)
    Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC)
    Rep. Will Hurd (R-FL;withdrew)
    Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR)
    Perry Johnson (R-IL)
    Mayor Steve Laffey (R-RI)
    Former V.P.Mike Pence (R-IN;withdrew)
    Vivek Ramaswamy (R-OH)
    Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC)
    Secy. Corey Stapleton (R-MT)
    Mayor Francis Suarez (R-FL;withdrew)
    Former Pres.Donald Trump (R-NY)

    2024 Democratic and 3rd-party primary candidates:
    Pres. Joe Biden (D-DE)
    V.P.Kamala Harris (D-CA)
    Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. (I-NY)
    Chase Oliver (L-GA)
    Rep.Dean Phillips (D-MN)
    Jill Stein (Green)
    Cornel West (Green Party)
    Kanye West (Birthday Party)
    Marianne Williamson (D-CA)
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