Last week, Gov. Ron DeSantis released the results of Florida’s 2022 civics assessments, demonstrating the success of Florida’s approach to educating its students on the history of our country, the nature of our form of government and the role they play as citizens of our republic.

He also announced that the Florida Civics and Debate Initiative will expand to all school districts for the upcoming school year, and announced that 2,500 teachers will complete three-day civics professional development trainings by the end of July.

DeSantis compared his record with proposals from the Biden administration.

“While the Biden administration is seeking to award grants to indoctrinate students with ideologies like Critical Race Theory, in Florida we have focused on Civics Excellence, teaching accurate American History without an ideological agenda,” said DeSantis. “Our students and teachers have worked hard to elevate their Civics Excellence and are proving to the nation that Florida is the national model for cultivating great citizens.”

“A strong civics education is foundational to the American experience,” said Florida Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz.“Today’s scores highlight the improvements our students have made in becoming more informed and involved citizens. Thanks to the leadership of Governor DeSantis and our talented educators, Florida’s next generation will enter adulthood with the confidence and knowledge necessary to fully participate in our system of government.”

Across the board, Florida’s students’ civic literacy has improved year over year. Overall, the percentage of students scoring Level 3 and above improved in social studies from 2021 to 2022.

Statewide, nearly three-quarters of students scored at or above Level 3 in Civics in 2022, an increase of five percentage points from 2021.

U.S. History end of course (EOC) assessment performance increased by two percentage points.

From 2021 to 2022, all student subgroups increased or maintained performance at Level 3 and above in social studies. African American students had the largest increases in both social studies and science performance.

African American students increased performance by eight percentage points in Civics and four percentage points in U.S. History.

Economically disadvantaged students increased performance by seven percentage points in Civics and two percentage points in U.S. History.

Hispanic students increased performance by six percentage points in Civics and three percentage points in U.S. History.

Students with disabilities increased performance by five percentage points in Civics and one percentage point in U.S. History.

White students increased performance by three percentage points in Civics and maintained performance in U.S. History.

English language learners increased performance by two percentage points in Civics and U.S. History.

Between 2021 and 2022, the achievement gap between white and African American students narrowed on all social studies assessments and the achievement gap also narrowed between white and Hispanic students on all social studies assessments.

This upcoming school year there will be $1 million dedicated to the expansion of the Florida Civics & Debate Initiative. This is double last year’s funding and will enable the program to expand from 45 participating school districts at the start of 2021 to 60 school districts in 2022. By the end of this coming school year, every school district in the state should be participating in the Civics & Debate Initiative. And this November 2022 Florida will host its second National Civics and Debate Championship. Prior to the launch of this initiative, only 11 school districts offered students opportunities to participate in Speech and Debate.

Over the next month, the Florida Department of Education will be hosting 10 three day civics trainings for teachers. Teachers who participate in these civics bootcamps will have gone through up to 50 percent of the Civics Seal of Excellence training and will be on their way to receiving a $3,000 bonus.

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