Florida Schools: Political Pawns

Gov. DeSantis is playing chess with Florida education- and the issue is more than just black and white.


Photo Juno Le

Graphic depicting a chess board and Florida as the pawn.

Ingalls Witte, Multimedia Editor

Editor’s Note: This was created for the FSPA 2023 Spring Convention On-the-Spot Opinion Column Contest and placed second.

Florida schools are at the mercy of Gov. Ron DeSantis. From empty bookshelves to curriculum cutbacks and the targeting of college programs, students all across the sunshine state have become pawns in Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’s game of chess: his 2024 Presidential Campaign.

Given DeSantis has no legitimate policies to base his platform on, he has instead turned to “woke indoctrination” and Critical Race Theory (CRT), buzzwords that have become all too common in Republican vocabulary in the past few years. These abstract ideas serve as tools to incite rage in far-right groups and drum up support for those who choose to fight against these egregious notions. So, Gov. DeSantis has taken a call to arms, waging war against these fictitious adversities Florida students face.

Despite the valiant efforts of the DeSantis administration: the banning of books, defunding of Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) programs and the conversion of the curriculum- all in the name of anti-wokeness- has been greeted by an onslaught of backlash from students and teachers alike. Yet, with the lack of support from the people he governs, DeSantis has been greeted by an even more invaluable backing- that of the GOP.

The Republican Party has made the dismantlement of CRT and “wokeness” their main manifesto for the upcoming election, and DeSantis’s passed bills serve to support just that- bolstering his 2024 campaign and appealing to the anger of Republicans across the nation who fear the “Leftist Marxist-Socialist” indoctrination that comes with CRT and “woke” ideology.

With the GOP making an enemy out of nothing, DeSantis has served as their knight in shining armor- combatting the delusions of the right at the expense of education for Floridians. The bills passed by the DeSantis administration serve to add some semblance of validity to the major talking points of Republicans and thus the competency of his campaign.

“Grandmaster” DeSantis is playing politics with Florida schools, pulling a gambit, and sacrificing pawn after pawn to outrageous censorship and cutbacks to protect his king- GOP support. Florida students across the Sunshine State have been unwillingly subjected to this game of chess and as more candidates announce their bids for presidency, DeSantis is nearing the endgame of his gubernatorial reign- putting students and educators into checkmate.