Trouble on the horizon in Florida?

12.10.2018

"Newly elected Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has appointed the members of his transition team for education — and on it are two people linked to efforts to weaken the teaching of evolution and climate change, among other topics," reports Education Week (December 7, 2018).

As NCSE previously reported, a bill aimed at empowering Floridians to object to the use of specific instructional materials in the public schools was enacted in 2017. Climate change and evolution were clearly among the targets.

Now Erika Donalds, the wife of the bill's sponsor and a former member of the Collier County School Board, and Kevin Flaugh, managing director of Florida Citizens' Alliance, which supported the bill, will be aiding the new governor on education.

Education Week asked all Florida county school boards about challenges filed under the 2017 law. "Of the counties that responded, seven had challenges, four of those challenges went to hearing officers, and three of them dealt with evolution and climate change."

None of those challenges — to evolution and climate change in Collier County; to evolution in Martin County and Nassau County — was successful, but "in two of these cases, petitioners came within one vote of winning their challenges."

Brandon Haught of Florida Citizens for Science was quoted as expressing concern about DeSantis's promise to conduct a "complete review" of the state's science standards. "I have no doubt that evolution and climate change will be heavily scrutinized."