Education

‘Indoctrination by subtraction:’ Professor speaks out against motion to remove sociology credits

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Florida education leaders are advancing a plan to remove sociology as a course that counts towards college and university graduation requirements.

The surprise proposal to remove sociology was brought by Florida Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz Jr. while the Florida Board of Governors considered a committee recommendation to add geology, oceanography and American history to the list of courses students could take to satisfy college and university Gen Ed graduation requirements.

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Sociology courses wouldn’t be fully eliminated, but students would no longer be able to satisfy their Gen Ed social sciences course requirements by taking the classes.

“The students would take the new course that was added, 1877, the American history course, which would help them fulfill the civics literacy requirement,” said Diaz.

The amendment was adopted and now heads to the full Board of Governors for final approval.

“I think the fix was in to tell you the truth,” said UNF sociology professor David Jeffee Ph.D.

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Jaffee said sees the push to remove sociology as a core course as a furtherance of the ongoing effort to remove diversity, equity and inclusion from Florida’s college campuses.

“Sociology is the one disciple that tends to take a critical approach to questions of race, gender, social class and inequality,” said Jaffee.

He noted there was no requirement at all for education leaders to remove a social sciences course, and he worries the move will disincentivize students from taking sociology.

“It’s very clear what’s going on here. I would almost describe it as indoctrination by subtraction,” said Jaffee.

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With the proposal still awaiting final approval, Jaffee said he’s hopeful faculty, students and alumni will raise their voices in opposition to protect the course’s current designation.

“We need to mobilize all of the parties, but I think the students are the most important,” said Jaffee.

If the rule does pass, colleges and universities could still offer sociology courses.

Rather than satisfying a social sciences requirement, the class would count as an elective for students who take it.

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