NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. (WFLA) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis visited Pasco County on Tuesday to discuss teacher recruitment efforts. But while in New Port Richey, DeSantis spoke about Florida’s new curriculum and efforts to keep certain ideologies out of the state’s schools and pushed back on medical board efforts to include gender dysphoria care for minors.
“Obviously in the classroom, we’ve battled a lot of ideologies. What I’ve said is the state of Florida is the place where woke goes to die,” DeSantis said Tuesday. “We are not going to let this state descend into some type of woke dumpster fire. We’re going to be following common sense, we’re going to be following facts,” he claimed.
During a news conference, DeSantis touted Florida reopening schools during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the state’s pushback on forcing vaccination requirements for students. He also alleged that Florida was focusing on science and data when considering pandemic safety protocol, rather than political ideology or partisan strategies.
The governor did not provide specific data or statistics to support his claims at the event on Tuesday.
In June, DeSantis made similar claims about children and vaccination. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, still promote vaccination and still say the vaccines are safe and effective. Neither agency claims the vaccines are 100% effective, but they stand by the vaccines as a way to mitigate infection and symptoms.
During a question-and-answer session portion of Tuesday’s press conference, DeSantis also discussed efforts to recruit teachers to the profession, saying he hoped to put qualified “Floridian” candidates and “Americans” first, rather than “go with a foreigner over somebody that’s from our communities.”
He also blamed the teacher shortage on fewer students pursuing the career and claimed that some colleges and universities did not have effective teaching programs.
“I think these schools of education and the specific way they go about, I don’t think is the right way to do it,” said DeSantis, who instead suggested a system whereby people who “have proficiency in core academic disciplines” are enticed to become teachers, rather than having students learn the profession at “schools of education,” which he called “magnets for ideology.”
DeSantis further claimed that most people who choose teaching as a profession do it to help students, not to be “a cog in some indoctrination machine.”
“It’s something you can’t judge on an academic transcript,” he said. “Certainly, we would prefer people with real-world experience and academic proficiency in the core subjects they’re teaching, English, math, science. Not saying ‘oh I went to the school of education somewhere and they taught me kind of how to teach.'”
Tuesday’s press conference also touched on DeSantis’ views of the “medical establishment” and the Florida Health Department’s guidance that gender-affirming care should not be available to minors.
“If you look what’s happening in our society, you see institutions being infected with ideology at the expense of facts and reality,” DeSantis claimed. “We’re fighting this thing with the medical board because they want to do sex change operations for minors,” DeSantis said. “A 14-year-old cannot get a tattoo, but they are talking, they will do mastectomies and things at the bottom which are very problematic and irreversible. These are kids going through a growing time in their life, there’s a lot of different factors, most of the dysphoria resolves itself by the time they become adults. So why would you disfigure a minor to be able to do?”
DeSantis claimed the “medical establishment” had latched onto these ideas, saying they were viewing it as “an opportunity.”