Florida Senate Committee advances bill banning ‘identity politics’ in teacher prep programs

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A proposal targeted at excluding “identity politics” from teacher preparation programs is making its way through the Florida Senate.


The proposal bill (SB 1372) has emerged from the Republican-dominated Rules Committee as one of the most contentious education bills of the ongoing 2024 legislative session.

Under the terms of the bill, teacher preparation programs at colleges and universities would be prohibited from instructions that “may not distort significant historical events or include curriculum or instruction that teaches identity politics or is based on theories that systemic racism, sexism, oppression, and privilege are inherent in the institutions of the United States and were created to maintain social, political, and economic inequities.”

Critics state the bill expands a 2022 Florida law named the Stop Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees Act or “Stop W.O.K.E. Act” that restricts the teaching of concepts like racial superiority and the idea some races are inherently advantaged or disadvantaged in K-12, higher ed and by private businesses.

Portions of the law were blocked by a Federal judge in 2022, labeling it as “positively dystopian.”

READ: Florida professors, students battle over ‘Stop W.O.K.E. act,’ urges Federal court to block law

Blaise Ingoglia, R-Spring Hill, argued that the blocking of identity politics from teacher-training programs is essential to prevent their transmission to students.

“In order to teach a future educator how to teach in the classroom should be focused on techniques and how to deliver the message of science or whatever it is in the classroom, but some of the instances in here … It’s actually pretty shocking. It’s telling them how to be social justice warriors in the classroom,” Ingoglia stated during an Appropriations Committee on Education meeting on Thursday.

However, critics like Kara Gross, Legislative Director and Senior Policy Counsel for the ACLU of Florida, criticized the bill as a form of “government censorship.”

“The First Amendment protects our right to read and learn and debate and discuss popular and unpopular views, regardless of whether they align with the viewpoints of the majority in power... Floridians, taxpayers, and the rest of the country have had enough of the Governor’s [Florida Gov. DeSantis] extremist ‘anti-woke’ agenda,” Gross said in a published statement.

The Senate bill’s advancement comes in tandem with a similar measure (HB 1291) in the House, which awaits consideration by the full chamber.

As both bills progress through the legislative process, they are likely to continue fueling heated discussions about the boundaries of academic freedom and the role of state intervention in educational curricula.

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William Clayton

William Clayton, Action News Jax

Digital reporter and content creator for Action News Jax

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