Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz told Newsmax on Wednesday that the state should not be funding "dangerous" critical race theory and diversity, equity, and inclusion ideology in the state's publicly funded education institutions.
"We should not be funding this dangerous ideology of CRT, having the programs that are either teaching our kids to hate America or hate each other or having something that is not merit-based," Diaz said during "American Agenda" on Wednesday. "This is a look at transparency, finding out exactly what is going on with the people of Florida's tax dollars, and how they're being spent."
Diaz's comments were made in support of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis asking the state's public colleges and universities to report how much money and resources they are spending on this training.
A Dec. 28 memo to Diaz from the state's Office of Policy and Budget requested an accounting of taxpayer funding and personnel resources that the state's 12 universities and 28 state colleges are using to deliver this material to students.
"We must ensure that our institutions of higher learning are focused on academic excellence and the pursuit of truth, not the imposition of trendy ideology," the Tallahassee Democrat reported DeSantis saying.
Diaz said it is "critical" for both the governor and state Legislature to have the information as lawmakers work to build a budget, so they can make sure funds collected by the state are used in the most efficient way possible.
"The Legislature, every year, appropriates the budget and the governor has to approve it," Diaz said. "So it is critical that they have that information and that the governor has that information when he's making those decisions. It's always the goal of the ... Legislature and the governor to have the most effective, efficient, spending for the taxpayers of Florida. And we shouldn't be investing in things that teach kids to hate our country and hate each other."
Professors in the state challenged the request and questioned how the information would be used.
"Can confirm this story," University of North Florida Political Science and Public Administration Chair Nicholas Seabrook tweeted. "I was asked earlier this week by the governor's office to submit a list of all courses in my department that contain DEI and/or CRT components. No explanation of why the request was made or what the information will be used for."
Diaz called the ideology "dangerous" and said the schools need to be responsible and "transparent."
"I think when you have a taxpayer dollars involved, we are responsible to make sure that those are used effectively and efficiently," he said. "And having the dangerous ideology of CRT taught or having these DEI programs that are, there again, pulling our students apart and teaching them to hate our country is a problem; and there should be transparency."
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