‘Children Are More Smarter’ Than Ron DeSantis’ Education Policies: Democratic Teacher-Turned-Senator

During a nationally televised appearance on MSNBC to criticize Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ (R) educational policies, a Democratic lawmaker touted his credentials as a former teacher before saying the state’s “children are more smarter” than DeSantis believes. The statement was one of numerous grammatical and factual errors made by Florida State Senator Shevrin Jones (D) on “The ReidOut with Joy Reid” Thursday night as he condemned DeSantis’ efforts to have the state’s public schools focus on the basics, like math and English.

“Let’s be extremely clear about something: As a former teacher, I want to make it clear that these children are more smarter [sic] than we think they are,” Jones said, as Reid nodded.

Jones claimed that DeSantis “is not dealing with the things that is [sic] more important, the kitchen table issues,” like “the up in rent that has taken place in South Florida,” apparently referring to rent increases. “But yet, and still, we’re dealing with the Critical Race Theory and The 1619 Project, an issue that is a non-issue.” Jones did not discuss his own history as the primary sponsor of legislation to remove all Confederate statues and erase the name of all Confederate soldiers from public property statewide.

Reid, who has dedicated numerous segments over the past week to the Florida governor, invited Jones to critique DeSantis for removing CRT from the state’s curriculum and supporting a bill that would stop teachers from discussing sexually explicit material in the classroom. Jones opposed the bill, which would prevent elementary school teachers from discussing sexual orientation or gender fluidity with children as young as 5.

“Basically, parents could sue if they believe a school’s procedures are infringing on their fundamental rights to make decisions about education,” Reid said, summarizing the bill. “How is that freedom?”

“Well, not freedom,” replied Jones, starting to call Ron DeSantis “president” before correcting himself. “President —Governor DeSantis, he calls this the free state of Florida, but it’s not the free state of Florida. The governor is trying to not just censor how you teach black history, but he is also trying to censor whether or not teachers can say the word ‘gay’ in our classroom.”

The bill in question (SB 1834) does not ban people from uttering the word “gay” in school, nor prevent children from having spontaneous conversations about any topic. The legislation says that a “school district may not encourage classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels,” nor in a way that is not age-appropriate in public secondary schools.

The mere proposal proves “it is becoming dangerous every single day to live in the free state of Florida,” Jones said, as he bent his fingers into air quotes.

.@ShevrinJones: “It is becoming dangerous every single day to live in the ‘free state of #Florida.'” #TheReidOut #reiders pic.twitter.com/4bWzlnCwWl

— The ReidOut (@thereidout) January 21, 2022

Reid then erroneously accused DeSantis of backing a proposal that would make it illegal “to teach history that would make white people uncomfortable.” She asked Jones, “Does that law include saying you can’t make black people feel uncomfortable or indigenous people?”

Governor DeSantis’ office debunked Democratic charges that the bill would criminalize making white people feel discomfort on Wednesday morning. “The word ‘white’ (or any other race) is not even in the bill,” wrote the governor’s press secretary, Christina Pushaw. “The bill was introduced by a Hispanic lawmaker to prevent any kind of race essentialist indoctrination. But you wouldn’t know that if you rely on American Pravda,” her term for the Associated Press, which has come under criticism for numerous stories about the potential 2024 Republican presidential contender.

The word “white” (or any other race) is not even in the bill. The bill was introduced by a Hispanic lawmaker to prevent any kind of race essentialist indoctrination. But you wouldn’t know that if you rely on American Pravda and its “kind” Tallahassee reporter for news. https://t.co/9FR4CLKS0D

— Christina Pushaw 🐊 (@ChristinaPushaw) January 19, 2022

The text of the bill states that no “individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of his or her race, color, sex, or national origin” as a result of mandatory sensitivity training or subject matter taught in businesses or public schools. Jones had falsely told the Associated Press on Tuesday, “This bill’s not for Blacks, this bill was not for any other race. This was directed to make whites not feel bad about what happened years ago.”

He also accused DeSantis of spouting “racist rhetoric.” An AP employee later approached the governor’s office for comment, stating, “I asked Sen. Jones if he thought Gov. DeSantis is racist. He said his policies are. Do you have a comment?”

“I just want to clarify – that you, without any context, asked a sitting State Senator if the Governor of Florida is a racist, while on the clock, being paid by the Associated Press?” replied Communications Director Taryn Fenske. The AP story originally claimed the governor’s office did not respond.

Jones made yet another grammatical

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