Controversial teachers union president slams Florida’s parental rights in education bill
The president of the American Federation of Teachers (ATF) has denounced Florida’s so-called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, saying it is harmful propaganda fueled by right-wing politicians who could start wars.
Randi Weingarten, whose union represents 1.7 million teachers and has sparked controversy over pandemic school closures and supporting lessons based on critical race theory, spoke out against the proposed Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Act, which prohibits teaching children in kindergarten through third grade about transgender issues.
‘It’s propaganda. It’s misinformation,’ Weingarten said during an interview on the Rick Smith podcast last week. “That’s how wars start. This is how hatred begins.
The ATF, one of the nation’s two largest teachers’ unions, has sharply criticized Gov. Ron DeSantis, accusing the Republican of creating a divide in schools with the state’s latest anti-revival legislation.
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, has criticized Florida’s so-called ‘don’t say gay’ bill because propaganda spread by right-wing politicians could start wars
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed the Parental Rights in Education Bill (pictured) last month, which prohibits teaching children in kindergarten through grade three about transgender issues. It has been criticized by educators, politicians and even Disney
Weingarten (pictured), whose union represents 1.7 million teachers and has sparked controversy over school closures during the pandemic and support lessons based on critical race theory, said the draft law would effectively put LGBTQ children back “in the closet.”
What is the Parental Rights in Education Bill?
HB 1557 was introduced by two Republican members of the Florida Legislature – Representative Joe Harding and Senator Dennis Baxley.
They say the purpose of the bill is to “empower parents” in their children’s education and to have teachers recognize the distinction between “instruction” and “discussion.”
“What we prohibit is giving them directions in a specific direction,” Baxley said of how teachers direct students in a classroom.
“Students can talk about anything they want to talk about, but sometimes the right answer is, ‘You really should tell your parents.’
The bill applies to children from kindergarten to grade three.
It states that “classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties about sexual orientation or gender identity may not take place.”
It also requires districts “to adopt procedures to notify a student’s parent if there is a change in the student’s services or supervision related to the mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being of the student,” which LGBTQ advocates claim could lead to students being disclosed to their parents without the student’s knowledge or consent.
It passed March 8 in a 22-17 vote. The State House had approved the bill late last month. DeSantis signed it into law on March 28 and will go into effect July 1.
Weingarten said parents, educators and politicians need to come together to help students recover from the effects of the pandemic on schools.
“Instead of just doing that, these right-wing ideologues are just trying to create fear and anxiety and anger, exploiting that parental fear,” Weingarten told Smith.
“They use politics, creating intense long-term, harmful, cruel and political offshoot.”
Weingarten said the bill would effectively put LGBTQ kids back “in the closet” and teach kids that transgender topics are taboo.
She previously mentioned that while schools invite parents to participate in their children’s education, the conversations have been taken over by a “vocal minority” who seek to do more harm than good.
“We have a lot to do to help children recover and thrive this year after two years of an unprecedented pandemic,” Weingarten told Fox News.
“So rather than helping us help our children socially, academically and emotionally, these vocal minorities want to marginalize LGBTQ children, censor teachers and ban books.”
She also told Smith that the “Don’t Say Gay Bill” and Florida’s bans on critical race theory and social emotion learning are unwarranted restrictions not only for teachers, but also for the students’ learning ability.
‘We help [students] learn to think, not what to think, and have the tools to be able to discern between fact and fiction,” Weingarten said.
“It scares the bejeezus of these extremists who don’t want kids to know how to think. They don’t want kids to sympathize with people who may be different, but that’s how America improves.
The parental rights in education bill, which DeSantis signed into law last month, has faced opposition from educators and politicians across the country, including President Joe Biden, and led state lawmakers to strip Disney of its special self-governing status due to the company’s public disparagement of DeSantis and the bill.
Florida lawmakers voted on Thursday to strip Disney of its special autonomous zone status as a war between DeSantis and the company rages over the bill.
In March, Disney said it would suspend political donations in the state and added that it would in turn support organizations that oppose the new law.
The House passed the measure with a 68-38 vote after the Senate backed the bill 23-16 a day earlier. The legislation will now go to DeSantis’ office for signing and could go into effect June 1, 2023.
The governor has previously voiced his support for the measure, saying during a fundraising speech Wednesday, “Disney and other woke corporations will no longer get away with peddling their unchecked pressure campaigns.”
“If we’re going to keep the Democratic machine and its corporate watchdogs accountable, we need to unite now.”
Some lawmakers, however, have argued that disbanding the district could cause significant financial hardship for neighboring Orange and Osceola counties, which are home to sections of Walt Disney World and its Reedy Creek improvement district.
The counties, on June 1, 2023, would assume all assets and liabilities of Reedy Creek and become responsible for providing all services currently managed by the district, CNBC reported.
Currently, Disney funds services provided by Reedy Creek, which would normally be funded by local municipalities. Instead, the company charges itself property taxes to fund its service and pays the Orange County Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement.
Once Reedy Creek is dismantled, local ratepayers and municipalities would likely be responsible for these services.
“Removing the district could transfer $2 billion in debt from Disney to taxpayers and could potentially have a huge impact on residents of Orange and Osceola!” State Senator Linda Stewart, who voted against the bill, tweeted Wednesday.
The House also on Thursday approved a bill passed by the Senate that removes Disney’s Big Tech censorship exemption.
Disney didn’t immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment on the changes and it’s still unclear if the company will appeal, but the vote sets up a potential legal battle between the state and the giant. entertainment.
President Joe Biden has slammed “ugly” Republicans for targeting Disney at his two West Coast fundraisers on Thursday. Earlier he gave a speech on infrastructure in Portland, Oregon (pictured)
Thusday, Biden slammed “ugly” Republicans for targeting Disney and said the GOP was taken over by the “far right” in his speeches at two Democratic fundraisers on the West Coast.
“It’s not your father’s Republican party. It’s MAGA night,’ Biden said Thursday afternoon at an elevated fundraiser at the Portland Yacht Club, co-hosted by The New Republic owner and editor Win McCormack and his wife. political consultant, Carol Butler.
“I mean it’s ugly…God, they’re going after Mickey Mouse,” Biden said.
He made similar pro-Disney remarks at his second fundraiser in Seattle, Washington, headlining a lakeside affair of Mary Snapp and Spencer Frazer, hosted by the president and vice president of Microsoft, Brad Smith, and his wife Kathy Surace-Smith.
‘There’s nothing conservative about throwing Disney out of its current posture…instead of saying gay?’ the president thought of the crowd in Seattle.