NAPLES, Fla. — Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced the Civic Literacy Excellence Initiative, a $106 million proposal to make Florida a national leader in civics education.
The Governor is urging the Florida Legislature to take up this proposal using the state portion of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund provided through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriation (CRRSA) Act.
The Civic Literacy Excellence Initiative emphasizes the development and support of high-quality civics education, rewards Florida teachers who participate and builds on the success of the Florida Civics and Debate Initiative.
“A high-quality education begins with high-quality curriculum, which is why I remain laser-focused on developing the best possible civics education standards,” said Governor DeSantis. “This initiative will promote high-quality civics education for Florida students and reward classroom educators who choose to participate in advancing civics education in their classrooms.”
Highlights of the Civic Literacy Excellence Initiative include:
- Creation of the Florida Civics Seal of Excellence – a new professional licensure endorsement for educators in civics education.
- A $3,000 bonus for educators who complete training and earn the Civics Seal of Excellence endorsement.
- $16.5 million for additional training, professional development and classroom support for educators and principals seeking to elevate civics education in Florida schools.
- Creation of regional civics coaches to provide supports for teachers in building out civics programs.
- Over $17 million to bolster Florida’s civics curriculum and expedite the implementation of Florida’s B.E.S.T. Standards into Florida K-12 public schools.
- $6.5 million for a career pathway program to launch pilot programs for public service incubators to develop partnerships between secondary schools and government institutions, allowing students to explore government and public administration and inspire the next generation of leaders in Florida.
“The Civic Literacy Excellence Initiative is an all-in approach to fully elevate civic literacy and education for Florida’s students and teachers, beyond any state in the nation,” said Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran. “Florida’s continued commitment to lead and foster the values we hope to see in our society will not only help develop great students, but will create humble, civically-minded citizens of tomorrow. We look forward to continuing to work with the legislature on this important priority.”
In January 2020, Governor DeSantis announced the Florida Civics and Debate Initiative (FCDI) with The Marcus Foundation to elevate civic knowledge, civic skills and civics disposition for middle and high school students.
The Marcus Foundation committed $5 million over three years to the Florida Education Foundation to increase Florida student’s access to speech and debate programs. Before the initiative was created, there were 11 school districts in Florida that participated in debate. In FCDI’s first year, Florida now has 59 active teams in 30 different school districts across the state.