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UC-AFT Condemns Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s Attacks on Education


UC-AFT stands in solidarity with educators in Florida’s public K-12 and higher education systems, and especially with our sibling unions. The UC-AFT condemns the discriminatory actions, policies, and legislation of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and we support the teachers, students, and citizens of Florida fighting against them.


Governor DeSantis has systematically eroded human and civil rights for the citizens of Florida, most recently with SB 254, a bill that bans surgeries and prescription treatments for children diagnosed with gender dysphoria. In addition, he has pushed anti-LGBTQIA+, anti-DEI, and anti-education legislation in Florida in his campaign to suppress “woke” ideology. His actions include, but are not limited to:

  • The Florida Parental Rights in Education Act, known as the “Don’t Say Gay” Bill
  • Legislation banning transgender athletes from women’s and girls’ public school teams
  • Legislation allowing teachers to be armed in public schools
  • Legislation banning books in schools that are not state-approved

Governor DeSantis has targeted higher education via his attacks on New College of Florida, where he has pushed for rolling back diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives; reducing tenure protections; and moving school leaders to review core courses to make sure they’re free of “liberal indoctrination.” In February, in order to further his political agenda, DeSantis added political appointees to the board of this public university. These appointees ousted the then-current president of the university.

This dismantling flies in the face of a university whose educational mission is paired with an established welcoming environment to a diverse array of students. Students who are part of underserved communities have found New College to be a safe haven for intellectual and personal growth–just as the institution’s motto, “A just, diverse, equitable and inclusive community,” promises. The aggressive moves to remove or halt efforts to continue New College’s mission is an assault on student safety, faculty freedoms, and the guarantee of a quality higher education that embraces the diverse world in which we live, learn, and work.

UC-AFT denounces the actions of Governor DeSantis, and will continue to support Florida’s teachers–especially those in our sibling AFT locals across the state. We stand in solidarity with the students, parents, and citizens refusing to accept and allow DeSantis’s educational policies of intersectional hate to spread nationally.