Students in Florida Respond to the History Wars

The History Wars are being waged in classrooms in the State of Florida, as a new front in the broader Culture Wars across the United States.

Governor Ron DeSantis and the Republican-dominated state legislature of Florida have passed a series of laws restricting primary, secondary and higher education curricula, particularly affecting the teaching of historical subjects. The Stop WOKE Act (2022) has already been implemented, while additional legislation, such as House Bill 999, is currently under consideration.

These dangerous laws challenge the principle of academic freedom and disrupt the ability of professors and teachers to select course books, materials, curricular themes, and pedagogical approaches that are appropriate for the subjects they teach.

A reporter for the Washington Post writes: “A chill has fallen over the Sunshine State. On a recent visit to the University of Florida, a student asked me a question that seemed more appropriate to an authoritarian state than an American college campus. …”

The Washington Post reports on Florida college students’ responses to the History Wars: “When talking with me, some students responded to the changes with mockery, others with fear or sadness. But all felt that their education was being compromised and resented that the legislation would limit their choice of study.”

Student’s comment on the History Wars. Source: The Washington Post.

“‘Education can and should expose us to diverse perspectives,’ first-year student Megan Meese said. ‘Ignorance permits hate, discrimination and marginalization. And by limiting discussions and awareness of identity, the legislation in Florida is going to instill ignorance in our students, which will promote intolerance and inequity in our future.'”

The Washington Post reports on the History Wars in Florida.

For broader context on the History Wars and the Culture Wars, see:

Appleby, Joyce Oldham, Lynn Avery Hunt, and Margaret C. Jacob. Telling the Truth About History. New York: W.W. Norton, 1994.

Linenthal, Edward Tabor, and Tom Engelhardt. History Wars: The Enola Gay and Other Battles for the American Past. New York: Metropolitan Books, 1996.

Nash, Gary B., and Charlotte A. Crabtree. History on Trial: Culture Wars and the Teaching of the Past. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1997.

This entry was posted in Academic Freedom, Education Policy, High School History Teaching, History in the Media, Humanities Education, Museums and Historical Memory, Political Culture, The Past Alive: Teaching History, Undergraduate Work in History, United States History and Society. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.