Friday, February 16, 2024

Happy Friday

Cabana Boy has been selected for the 2024 Valdez Theatre Conference, June 8 through 15 in Valdez, Alaska.

Ron DeSantis doesn’t like it when parents take him at his word and try to control what books to read or not read.

A year into Florida’s supercharged debate on book challenges, Gov. Ron DeSantis is calling on state lawmakers to take action against “bad actors” that he says are misinterpreting state laws for political gain.

“If people are abusing this process to try and muddy those waters then we have to have some reforms,” DeSantis said at a press conference on Thursday in which he blamed activists who challenge too many books and school leaders who he claimed are “intentionally” withholding books.

The full details of the plan remain in the works. But DeSantis — who for years has made parental involvement in book challenges a key part of his political platform — said he is directing the Florida Department of Education to craft rules that will hold educators accountable if they go beyond what state law requires them to do. He also signaled support for a legislative proposal that would fine residents who file frivolous complaints.

“Let’s not let people try and hijack the process,” he said. “We don’t have time for your political agenda.”

The decision to crack down on the what DeSantis called the politicization of book challenges comes as Florida has become a hot spot in the clash over what reading material is appropriate for children, with the help of a broad state law that made it easier for parents and residents to object to instructional materials and books in schools.

To comply with the law, school districts across the state have temporarily removed hundreds of books from shelves while they review them to ensure compliance with the state’s content standards.

At least 1,400 titles have been pulled from shelves in Florida public schools, more so than any other state during the past school year, according to data collected by the group PEN America between July 2022 and July 2023. Among the titles that have been removed from circulation in some grades are encyclopedias, dictionaries, Toni Morrison’s first book “The Bluest Eye,” and the poem The Hill We Climb, which was recited by poet Amanda Gorman at the Jan. 20, 2021, inauguration of President Joe Biden.

DeSantis did not assign blame on the vague laws that have driven many of the challenges.

Of course he didn’t assign blame because it’s him, the flaming jackass.  But this is what happens when you campaign on authoritarian ideas and pass draconian — and freedom-throttling — laws.