Students at Florida’s 12 public universities will be offered an American history class instead of sociology as an option in the general education core curriculum, the state university system’s board of governors announced Wednesday.
This follows a similar move last week by Florida’s Board of Education, which banned the use of public funds for diversity, equity and inclusion programs at all 28 state colleges in Florida, in what appears to be yet another effort by the Republican-led state to clamp down on education.
The Principles of Sociology course, which students were previously able to take to satisfy the core curriculum’s social sciences requirement, will be replaced by Introductory Survey to 1877. The new option provides “a historically accurate account of America’s founding, the horrors of slavery, the resulting Civil War, and the Reconstruction era,” the board of governors said in a press release.
Chancellor Ray Rodrigues said that he was “proud” of the decision, adding that he expects the change to have a “positive impact” on students.
“Florida’s students of our State University System will have the opportunity to learn about the creation and development of our nation as part of the core course options,” Rodrigues said.
Three members of the board of governors voted against the change, including Ashley Bell Barnett, who said that there is value in studying “the history of some of the various movements, and Marxism and all that are important to look at society today.”
“There is a difference between exposure and indoctrination on how beliefs in the sociology courses are taught,” she said, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Meanwhile, the board of education’s decision last week was unanimous.
“Sociology has been hijacked by left-wing activists and no longer serves its intended purpose as a general knowledge course for students,” Manny Díaz Jr., Florida’s commissioner of education, wrote last month on social media.
Under the leadership of Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), “Florida’s higher education system will focus on preparing students for high-demand, high-wage jobs, not woke ideology,” Díaz added.
The American Sociological Association said that it was “outraged” by Wednesday’s announcement, pointing to an absence of evidence supporting the move.
“This decision seems to be coming not from an informed perspective, but rather from a gross misunderstanding of sociology as an illegitimate discipline driven by ‘radical’ and ‘woke’ ideology,” the professional association said in statement shared with HuffPost.
“To the contrary, sociology is the scientific study of social life, social change, and the social causes and consequences of human behavior, which are at the core of civic literacy and are essential to a broad range of careers,” it added.
Florida is home to the country’s second-largest public university system, with over 430,000 students.