Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis proposed legislation Wednesday to ban state funding from schools that teach critical race theory and prohibit corporations from including it in employee training programs.

DeSantis announced the Stop WOKE Act at a Wednesday press conference, blasting critical race theory and “wokeness” as “an attempt to delegitimize our history and to delegitimize our institutions.”


Critical race theory, which says U.S. institutions and culture are systemically racist and oppressive to racial minorities, has generated widespread controversy nationwide over its presence in public school curriculum.

Progressive activists and Democratic politicians have insisted the academic framework is not taught in public schools despite substantial evidence to the contrary and say efforts to ban it are attempts to whitewash American history and avoid teaching students about racism.

“Our legislation would defund any money from K-12 to higher ed going to CRT,” DeSantis said at the press conference.

“I view the wokeness as a form of cultural Marxism,” DeSantis continued. “They want to tear at the fabric of our society and our culture, really things we’ve taken for granted, like the ability of parents to direct the upbringing of their kids.”

“No taxpayer dollars should be used to teach our kids to hate our country or to hate each other,” he added.

If adopted, the legislative proposal would expand on the governor’s directive to the Florida Department of Education earlier this year that prohibited the inclusion of critical race theory in public schools. The new law also treats businesses that require critical race theory training as maintaining a “hostile work environment” under Florida law.

“How is it not a hostile work environment to be attacking people based on their race or telling them that they’re privileged or part of oppressive systems when all they’re doing is showing up to work and trying to earn a living?” DeSantis said. “We believe that that violates the Florida Civil Rights laws, but to the extent that it doesn’t, we’re going to make sure that the law does include this."

DeSantis, who is running for reelection as governor in 2022, is widely seen as a potential 2024 presidential contender and often leads Republican primary polling when former president Donald Trump is not included in the list of possible candidates.


“We have a responsibility to stand for the truth, to stand for what’s right, and we’re doing that, and we’ve put more resources and emphasis on teaching civics, on teaching people about American history,” the Florida governor said. “But we also have to protect people and protect our kids from some very pernicious ideologies that are trying to be forced upon them all across the country.”