Florida enacted the Individual Freedom Act, commonly known as the Stop Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees Act, and more commonly known as the Stop WOKE Act. This Florida law is intended to …
Florida enacted the Individual Freedom Act, commonly known as the Stop Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees Act, and more commonly known as the Stop WOKE Act. This Florida law is intended to prohibit instruction in critical race theory, which most people do not realize is a law school concept and is not taught in public K-12. It has been used in Florida to prevent teaching about American history, especially slavery and other civil rights violations against African Americans, as well as our history of genocide and boarding school assaults on the Native American race and its culture.
Similar laws have been passed in states around the country, and aside from attacking history, diversity, and inclusion, they assault LGBTQ students. Most notably, they include topics like “don’t say gay” and “let’s harass trans girls” at an age when these young people are most confused and vulnerable about their most personal and intimate choices. I beg all readers to stop this nonsense, recognize the deep psychological scars it inflicts on our children, and move along with the rest of the developed world in recognizing historical events as true and meaningful in our efforts to be inclusive, support diversity, and value all people.
U.S. and children around the world are tested in fourth grade for reading and in fourth and eighth grade for math.* In pre-covid 2019, U.S. fourth graders scored lower in reading than in 12 other countries, including those in Norway, Finland, Ireland, Poland, China, Russia, and Latvia. U.S. Eighth grade students performed worse in math than those in 14 other countries, including Norway, South Korea, Japan, Russia, Ireland, Latvia, and Lithuania. By some indicators, student education is superior to the U.S. in Cuba and Costa Rica.
I do not have children in the public schools of River Falls. I do not like paying higher property taxes. Yet, I am happy to support public education at every opportunity I get (as long as I am not living in Florida). And please do not divert my tax dollars from a much-needed quality public education system to home schooling and private schools via vouchers. An honest and quality approach to public education could take America’s children to a level at or above the rest of the world while simultaneously improving civic responsibility, inclusion and diversity, and economic productivity. As editor Sarah Nigbor says in her excellent editorial, “If we want to be good citizens, it’s our duty to be informed.”
*National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education
Jacqueline Murray Brux
Town of River Falls
Dr. Brux is an honored emeritus professor of economics at the UW-River Falls and author of several books on economics.