Florida's state Board of Education banned "critical race theory" in public school classrooms Thursday, adopting new rules it said would shield schoolchildren from a curriculum that could "distort historical events." The state joined a national debate about how race should be used as a lens in classrooms to examine the country's tumultuous history. Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis appeared by video at the top of the board's meeting, urging its members, many of whom he appointed, to adopt the new measures, the AP reports. DeSantis said the proposal would serve students with the facts rather than "trying to indoctrinate them with ideology." The Black Lives Matter movement has helped bring contentious discussions about race to the forefront of American discourse, and classrooms have become a battleground.
Supporters contend that federal law has preserved the unequal treatment of people on the basis of race and that the country was founded on the theft of land and labor. Opponents of critical race theory say students should not be taught that the US is fundamentally racist. Republican-led states are considering or have approved laws limiting how teachers can frame American history. Current events, including the killings of Black people by police, have intensified debates. The new Florida rules say instruction "must be factual and objective, and may not suppress or distort significant historical events." They call "theories that distort historical events" inconsistent with board policy. The rules also prohibit use of the 1619 Project.