Gov. DeSantis stops in Jacksonville to tout hand-picked school board candidates, education agenda

He’s doing it to tout his list of hand-picked school board candidates and talk about his statewide and sometimes controversial education agenda.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis will be in Jacksonville on Sunday evening for his education tour.

He’s doing it to tout his list of hand-picked school board candidates and talk about his statewide and sometimes controversial education agenda.

DeSantis said the candidates he has endorsed are pro-parent, student-first candidates committed to his agenda.

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In a statement from the Governor, he said in part: “Florida’s school boards need members who will defend our students and stand up for parental rights and will ensure Florida’s children are protected from woke ideology in their classrooms. I am proud to stand by each of them.”

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Here’s what’s laid out in the Governor’s agenda: The plan is to keep schools open and reject lockdowns, educate don’t indoctrinate, reject the use of critical race theory in the curriculum and guarantee the right of parents to curriculum transparency.

It also talks about increasing teacher pay, expanding workforce development and supporting robust civics education.

These are the candidates in our area who the Governor is endorsing: Christy Chong and Jill Woolbright in Flagler County, Erin Skipper in Clay County, Phil Leary in Putnam County, Mildred Russell in Alachua County and April Carney and Charlotte Joyce in Duval County.

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News4JAX got some remarks from the candidates at the event.

“No board, no school and no government should ever infringe on your rights as a parent, period,” Erin Skipper, Clay County District 1 candidate said.

April Carney is Elizabeth Andersen’s opponent in the Duval County School Board race. She also spoke at the event.

“It takes the social and political redirect out of education. It gives the power back to the parents,” April Carney, Duval County District 2 candidate said.

We reached out to Andersen’s office for a response and are waiting to hear back. On her website, she talks about creating a public education system based on values working for all students.

Gov. DeSantis did not mention Andersen by name, but he brought up statements she made during a candidate forum in the spring.

“These school board races, they will reverberate insignificance... I saw in some reports, you have a leftist school board member that was denigrating one of our folks as being a token. How disrespectful is that? Is that the kind of person you want on this school board?,” DeSantis said.

Andersen told Florida politicians that the comments were deliberately misinterpreted. Since we could not reach Andersen, we spoke to the Duval County Chair for the Democratic party Danial Henry to address DeSantis’ Sunday night comments.

“I think this is a perfect example of the governor taking words out of context for political gain. What I believe school board member Andersen was speaking to, and I can’t speak for her, was many organized organizations, propelled by Governor DeSantis going to school boards and spreading misinformation regarding mask mandates, or instructional material that are being given out in schools,” Henry said.

We also reached out to other candidates in our area who Governor is not endorsing to see what they have to say about the education tour.


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