Florida’s Department of Education is hosting civics professional learning training sessions that tells teachers that religion belong in public life, The Washington Post reports.
According to the Post, the training included the phrase that it is a “misconception” that “the Founders desired strict separation of church and state.”
Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1802 that the American public had built “a wall of separation between Church and State” when they adopted the establishment clause of the First Amendment, which says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
That was not the only cause for concern among attendees at the training. Participants say the course omitted unflattering information about the founding fathers and in some cases promoted inaccuracies, according to the Post. For example, the training says George Washington and Thomas Jefferson opposed slavery, but left out the fact that they both owned slaves.
“My takeaway from the training is that civics education in the state of Florida right now is geared toward pushing some particular points of view,” Broward County teacher Richard Judd told the Post. “The thesis they ran with is that there is no real separation of church and state.”
The president of the Broward Teachers Union, Anna Fusco, said some teachers who attended the training told her that presenters told them to teach “only one side of history. “
“It was basically, it’s this way or no way, like there’s only one side to American history. Then they kind of slipped in a Christian values piece, ignoring the fact that this country is made up of so many different cultures and religions,” Fusco told the Post.
The training is part of a “civics bootcamp” on how teachers can implement Gov. Ron DeSantis’ (R) new civics curriculum to stop the “woke indoctrination” of kids in Florida’s public schools. Teachers who attend the training received a $700 stipend.
At a press conference on Thursday, DeSantis claims the new curriculum is “unabashedly promoting civics and history that is accurate and that is not trying to push an ideological agenda,” and said students in the state were learning “real history” and “the real facts.”