Florida teachers react to Gov. DeSantis State of the State: Students and educators deserve better
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 3/7/23-Gov. Ron DeSantis, center, is flanked by House Speaker Paul Renner, R-Palm Coast, left, and Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, as he gives the State of State address during the opening day of the 2023 Florida Legislative Session, Tuesday at the Capitol in Tallahassee. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

'Gov. DeSantis says he’s for teachers’ rights, then moves to take away their rights to teach honest lessons or join together to advocate for Florida’s students and our profession.'

Saying Gov. Ron DeSantis painted a “rosy picture” of the state of Florida during his annual State of the State address, the Florida Education Association in a statement is reminding Floridians that the “state of public education” under the Governor’s administration “might be better characterized as a patch of thorns” for teachers and students.

“The Governor’s top-line promises can sound good, but there’s always a catch,” argued Florida Education Association (FEA) President Andrew Spar.

“Gov. DeSantis says he’s for teachers’ rights, then moves to take away their rights to teach honest lessons or join together to advocate for Florida’s students and our profession. He says on repeat that he’s for freedom, but we see a multitude of limitations on what teachers and professors can teach, what students can learn, what books they can read, and what courses our college students can take. It’s like a game of opposites, with students losing.”

Last year, DeSantis pushed through priority legislation banning certain education in classrooms and some workplaces that focused on race, through his “Stop WOKE” Act, some of which is now on hold pending federal legal challenges.

This year, DeSantis’ priority higher education legislation targets colleges and universities and would block funding for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs, ban gender studies curriculum and bar lessons related to critical race theory, among other provisions. 

The FEA said students deserve strong public schools, colleges and universities and pointed to a staffing crisis “that has gone from bad to worse under the Governor’s watch.” That, the group explained, is leaving students without adequate access to professionally trained teachers and support staff who can meet their needs. 

“We recently saw a very violent attack on a paraprofessional in Flagler County. In a recent conversation with this paraprofessional, she alluded to the lack of staff and lack of support for the student as two of the main contributing factors,” Spar said.

The FEA claims colleges and universities are “at risk of slipping” in national rankings, particularly those that consider academic freedom, and attributes the rationale for recent legislation to “scoring points on a national stage where the most corrosive and divisive style of politics is rewarded.”

The FEA is calling on Florida lawmakers to: 

— Increase public education funding.

— Implement competitive pay for all school employees.

— Cut red tape that complicates teacher pay and penalizes experience.

— Treat teachers, professors and staff with respect as trained professionals.

— Protect students’ freedom to learn and teachers’ freedom to teach.

— Protect teachers’ rights to unionize.

DeSantis delivered his State of the State address Tuesday ahead of the start of the 2023 Legislative Session.

Staff Reports


  • Richard Bruce

    March 7, 2023 at 2:07 pm

    FEA is not “teachers”, but a labor union. I’m a teacher. FEA does not represent my views or the profession.

    • jackie

      March 12, 2023 at 10:12 pm

      Thank you! I was here to say the same! Not all teachers are under the “I hate DeSantis” umbrella. Specify what teachers you represent-only AFTER you took a one-by-one personal response survey!

  • Tallahassee Insider

    March 7, 2023 at 2:10 pm

    The Brain Drain that this state is going to see in the next decade is going to be something else.

    • Keystone Keys

      March 7, 2023 at 9:25 pm

      As long you as you leave. And quickly.

    • tom james

      March 9, 2023 at 1:19 pm

      the brain drain has taken place under mostly liberal Democratic school boards who dumbed down our schools and threw out providing a safe and secure environment through failed initiatives like restorative justice and civil citations. No we won’t allow our kids to have the far left hateful racist and sexist agenda to be shoved down our throats. This isn’t NY or CA and WHY we are rated the #1 state in the union. Those who don’t like the direction can MOVE to the blue state sh*tholes they love so much.

  • Ron DeSantis wears High Heels

    March 7, 2023 at 2:22 pm

    Just a reminder here that Manlet DeSantis wears high heels to appear taller.

    • tom james

      March 9, 2023 at 1:21 pm

      poor little groomer. Are you mad Desantis shut you down? now about the bumbling idiot Joe Biden????

  • Concerned American

    March 7, 2023 at 2:25 pm

    Ron DeSantis is a danger to our Children, Teachers and anyone who has different views than his. He has the mentality of white supremacy and racism. It reminds me a lot of Benito Mussolini who was the leader in fascism. Let’s be clear Desantis will take us backward and reduce freedoms of any American thats different. Now that a dangerous politician.

  • Earl Pitts American

    March 7, 2023 at 4:41 pm

    Good afternoon America,
    The FEA needs to disassociate itself from our Great Teachers here in The Great State of Florida.
    The FEA needs to refund all union dues since this whole woke grooming shizz began. I estimate that would be around 6 years of union dues.
    The FEA should slither out of The Great State of Florida on their bellys as the poisionus snakes that they are.
    Goodbye and Good Riddence to the FEA.
    Thank you America,
    Earl Pitts American

    • Craig

      March 8, 2023 at 1:38 pm

      There’s no such thing as “woke grooming.” That’s a phrase being used to scare ignorant people into supporting fascist programs.

  • Eric

    March 7, 2023 at 7:42 pm

    He had done more for teachers and education than was done in the previous 20 years. He has proven to be an Exceptional Governor showing excellent leadership.

  • Charlotte Greenbarg

    March 8, 2023 at 7:49 am

    In the 70s NOVA university and the unions cooked up a scheme that created “doctoral degrees”. They were night and weekend courses. Then the district promoted the union favorites who got the degrees , to positions such as educational specialist, or curriculum specialist. Nothing more than a classic padding scheme. These positions need to be eliminated and the money given to classroom teachers.

  • Di

    March 8, 2023 at 8:46 am

    He is a danger to America, he is trying his best to be a dictator.

  • Concerned about our Nation

    March 8, 2023 at 9:00 am

    I could have said it better. You are 💯 percent correct! Same on people who sit silent not realizing He will be coming from them next! His ideas and policies must be challenged by rational, unbiased people. Not you today but if no one stands up to a bully an authoritarian they keep pushing the envelope. Desantis has to go. He is not good for the people for our Nation. He has no love, compassion, respect, empathy for others . This makes him very dangerous.!

  • John

    March 8, 2023 at 10:44 am

    Teachers need to stick to teaching the basics, History, Math, reading, and writing and stay out of our kids minds with identity politics. We (taxpayers) pay teacher salaries and they have no right to teach woke ideologies. All men/women are created equal under God, the USA is a nation founded on Judeo Christian principles. If teachers’ unions don’t agree with that, then I suggest they relocate to another Marxist of communist country, Equity and inclusion is about the minority population, and they have forgotten the majority population. Ask a biology teacher, a woman is defined by having a Uterus, there is no such thing as a transgender woman and the idea should be kept out of the classroom.

    • Craig

      March 8, 2023 at 1:51 pm

      The US was NOT “founded on Judeo Christian principles.” The US Constitution never mentions the bible even once. It only mentions religion to preclude its use in making laws or as a requirement for public office. There’s no such thing as Judeo Christian principles anyway. There are Jewish principles and Christian principles and they’re not the same.

      The US government was created to be secular. That doesn’t mean anti religion, it only means separate from religion.

      You should also learn the difference between Marxism, communism, and socialism, although nobody is proposing any of them or advocating for them in public schools.

      Equity and inclusion is about allowing minorities the same rights and opportunities as the majority. Doing so doesn’t take anything away from the majority.

      You also seem to have no idea about the difference between sex and gender. Sex is biological while gender is a social construct. LGBTQ individuals have existed as long as there have been humans. Denying their existence doesn’t change that. BTW, your definition of a woman is false. It would imply that a woman who’s had a hysterectomy is no longer a woman. The existence of trans individuals is just not something that there’s any need for government to get involved in. It’s not something that’s a major topic in any schools, just as CRT isn’t taught in ANY public schools other than graduate school.

  • Julio

    March 8, 2023 at 12:15 pm

    Florida, the New Cuba.

  • tom james

    March 9, 2023 at 1:26 pm

    FEA is a joke and has ZERO power in Florida. Membership of most locals is barely 50% (or less). Most teachers want nothing to do with a far left Marxist organization with no moral compass. What’s even more disgusting is they are still part of the failed AFT and NEA. I advised them to divest themselves but they refuse. Of course Spar and his staff are making $300K salaries all the while complaining about teacher pay. Give me a break.

Comments are closed.


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