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DeSantis opens pores on school board competition and transforms them with his image

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  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has made reorganizing the school board a top priority for his re-election.
  • He endorsed 29 candidates to support the agenda for the primary on August 23rd.
  • DeSantis is one of America’s most famous Republicans, having also campaigned for the MAGA candidate.

DORAL, Fla. — Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis is seeking a second term in the nation’s third-largest state, as he works to build strong supporters on school boards across Florida.

“We need help at the local level,” DeSantis said at the firefighters’ building in front of 430 enthusiastic supporters during Sunday’s campaign event. It will make a big difference.”

The governor endorsed 29 conservative candidates ahead of Tuesday’s school board election. School board elections typically get little attention and are strictly nonpartisan.

School board members make decisions about spending, schedules, supplies, curriculum, and other matters. But in more than a dozen counties where DeSantis endorsed candidates, school boards defied governors last fall by requiring students to wear masks.

The election has become a bigger focus for voters who were frustrated that schools across the United States remained closed during the coronavirus pandemic. There are also moves to restrict school curricula and practices regarding race, gender, and sexual orientation.

“We’re not going to surrender to wake up,” said DeSantis, whose political committee donated to school board candidates. It’s a state that wakes up and dies.”

Lieutenant Governor Janet Nunez, who was also present at the event, told the audience that the DeSantis administration is focused on education. Because education is “the key to opportunity, the key to our future.”

“I call on each and every one of you to join us in this fight to take back our school board,” she said.

DeSantis criticized the Democrats as “a wake-up trash can fire” and in his speech indicated that he would double down on many of the educational issues he had tackled over the past four years.

This includes rejecting school lockdowns and “keeping awakened gender ideologies out of schools.” In his speech, DeSantis vowed to support higher teacher wages.

Florida’s teachers’ relative wages are among the lowest in the nation, according to the National Education Association, but state legislators and governors have raised salaries and given teacher bonuses over the past year. I was.

On Tuesday, DeSantis proposed a plan to alleviate Florida’s teacher shortage by offering temporary education certificates to police officers, paramedics, and firefighters.

In an interview with Yahoo Finance Live, Florida Education Association President Andrew Sparr slammed the idea as a “quick fix” and said it “doesn’t really get to the root of the problem.”

“We want our classrooms to have fully trained and fully qualified teachers with the necessary experience and support to teach every child,” said the union leader.

Inaugural Gov. Ron DeSantis arrives with his wife, Casey DeSantis, for an event at the Freedom Tower named after Barbara Lagoa at the Florida Supreme Court in Miami, Fla., January 9, 2019 To do.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

DeSantis touts anti-lockdown record

Doral, in Miami-Dade County, was the first stop on Sunday’s tour, which included Sarasota, Volusia and Duval counties. 1,200 peopleaccording to the DeSantis campaign.

In November, DeSantis will face either Democratic Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Freed or Rep. Charlie Christ, a St. Voters will decide the winner of the Democratic gubernatorial nomination during Tuesday’s primary.

DeSantis has recently campaigned on behalf of Republicans in other states, including Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano and Ohio senatorial candidate JD Vance.

It is widely rumored that DeSantis is eyeing the White House. Losing candidates in other states, especially battleground states, is one way presidential candidates build political allegiance and hone their brands as leaders of their respective parties.

“It’s very important to raise awareness about his policies now before he gets so powerful,” said Avani, a 28-year-old transgender woman who was protesting outside DeSantis’ campaign event. , told Insider in an interview. She declined to give her last name.

In a speech lasting about 30 minutes, DeSantis praised his actions as governor, including setting new educational standards that reduce testing and mandating that districts show how they choose textbooks.

In the fall of 2020, DeSantis celebrated how he defied federal health officials and teachers’ unions when he decided to reopen schools amid the pandemic. He faced backlash for months, but many blue states eventually followed suit, as he concluded that school closures would do more harm than good.

In a speech on Sunday, the governor said being the parent of three young children has influenced his view of school.

“My girlfriend and I are more sensitive to a lot of the things parents have to think about with their kids these days,” he said of himself and wife Casey DeSantis.

Those at the rally said they were enthusiastic about the governor’s political future. Gianni Lehmann, 73, from Miami’s Westchester neighborhood, said she “needs new talent” on the school board and that “education must be a top priority.”

Broward’s DeSantis supporter Max Morgan, 50, said, “All parents are conservative when it comes to their children,” even if they themselves are politically liberal.

“We want the best for our children, the safest environment and the best education,” he said.

Protesters against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' education agenda gather outside a campaign event in Miami-Dade County on August 21, 2022.

Protesters against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ education agenda gather outside a campaign event in Miami-Dade County on August 21, 2022.

Kimberly Leonard/Insider

“Save my child”

In his speech, DeSantis also touted policies that sparked backlash and lawsuits, such as the Parents’ Rights in Education Act.

Dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay Bill” by critics, the new law bans discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools, especially in kindergarten through third grade.

“Children are exposed to things that take away their innocence,” said Jackie Rosario, one of the candidates for the Indian River County Board of Education. We need it. Save the children.”

Critics, however, say the bill contains vague language prohibiting such instruction “in a way that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate” and thus could extend to higher grades. said to be sexual. They worry about chilling LGBTQ teachers’ speeches and about students being kicked out by families who don’t accept them.

Another curriculum area that DeSantis hit at a campaign rally was “critical racial theory,” which he called “teaching children to hate our country and hate each other for their race.” defined as teaching. Republicans use the term as shorthand for race-based debates and disciplines they say are tied to Marxism.

Formally, Critical Race Theory examines racism in the U.S. system, dating back to slavery and the Jim Crow era. Democrats argue that it is primarily taught in law schools and accuse politicians who support the ban of trying to falsify history.

About 30 protesters gathered across the street at the DeSantis event, chanting “We say gay!” When the governor’s supporters end the event.

Protesters condemn new state law outlawing abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, state efforts to consider blocking access to puberty blockers for transgender minors, and DeSantis’ education policies I put up a sign to

“Teachers are uncomfortable with not being able to speak their minds and be themselves,” Avani said.