Schools and universities are ground zero for America’s culture war

… there is a more foundational reason why DeSantis and the far right are attacking education: it is the means by which our young people are made into citizens. Schools and universities are laboratories of aspiration, places where young people cultivate their own capacities, expose themselves to the experiences and worldviews of others, and learn what will be required of them to live responsible, tolerant lives in a pluralist society… It is in school where they learn that social hierarchies do not necessarily correspond to personal merit; it is in school where they discover the mistakes of the past, and where they gain the tools not to repeat them. No wonder the DeSantis right, with it’s fear of critique and devotion to regressive modes of domination, seems to hostile to letting kids learn: education is how kids grow up to be the kinds of adults they can’t control.

Moira Donegan

You could be forgiven for losing track of all the lurid and inventive ways that Ron DeSantis, the Florida governor with presidential ambitions, has attacked education in his state. Last year he signed the Don’t Say Gay bill, a nasty little law that bans classroom discussion of sexuality or gender identity issues – effectively forcing children and teachers alike to stay silent about their families and lives, under the threat of lawsuits. The bill caused confusion and controversy, frightening gay students and teachers, leading to preemptive compliance in some sectors and defiant disobedience in others – and, not coincidentally, drawing quite a bit of culture-war attention to DeSantis himself.

Since then, the Florida governor has repeated the playbook in increasingly ambitious fashion. Last April, DeSantis signed the exhaustingly titled “Stop Woke Act,” which restricts lessons on racial inequality in public schools. The bill prohibits the teaching of material that could cause a student to “feel guilt, anguish, or other forms of psychological distress,” due to US racial history – the implication being that these are not appropriate responses to an encounter with this history, or that protection from such emotions is more important than a confrontation with the facts….