Florida Schools Must Teach 'Evils Of Communism,' Ron DeSantis Orders

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Wednesday signed a bill requiring public K-12 schools to teach what he called “the truth about the evils of communism,” claiming it’s necessary to do this before students can be misled about the topic when they enter higher education.

“It’s going to give the students the truth about communism,” DeSantis said of the law at a signing ceremony, adding, “We might as well tell them the truth when they’re in our schools, because a lot of these universities they go, they’re going be told how great communism is.”

The new curriculum requirements, which include a focus on the history of communist movements in the U.S. and abroad, are set to go into effect in the 2026-2027 school year. The law’s text requires educators to teach about the “increasing threat of communism in the United States” throughout the 20th century, as well as atrocities “committed in foreign countries under the guidance of communism.”

It also requires schools to teach students how communist ideologies “conflict with the principles of freedom and democracy essential to the founding principles of the United States.”

“The truth will set us free,” DeSantis said in a press release. “We will not allow our students to live in ignorance, nor be indoctrinated by Communist apologists in schools. To the contrary, we will ensure students in Florida are taught the truth about the evils and dangers of Communism.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has made several changes to Florida school curricula.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has made several changes to Florida school curricula. SOPA Images via Getty Images

Communism, a social and economic ideology that can be traced back to multiple ancient civilizations, promotes the common ownership of all property and a classless society. Throughout history, leaders in countries like China, the Soviet Union and Cuba implemented their own versions of it mixed with elements of totalitarianism, often resulting in isolated and impoverished societies.

“We’re going to tell the truth about the unprecedented death toll of the 20th century at the hands of communist tyranny,” DeSantis said.

But communist ideologies are also behind many facets of mainstream American life, including government-subsidized health care, public education and the right for workers to organize. Today, the Communist Party USA largely supports Democratic candidates and promotes the empowerment of the working class and labor movements.

A spokesperson for the American Historical Association, which has opposed some of Florida’s recent endeavors in the education system, pointed out the oddity of DeSantis’ focus on communism.

“If our goal is to help students learn about threats to freedom and democracy, why are we not also requiring that they learn about fascism?” AHA Executive Director James Grossman told HuffPost.

“This legislation is largely symbolic, catering to popular notions of a continuing ‘threat of communism in the United States,’” he continued. “A good teacher can stay within the law and help students learn how communism has evolved internationally and nationally, including a variety of perspectives on how it has worked in practice in specific countries.”

Some of the law’s text is “historically questionable,” Grossman said, “most notably that the Cultural Revolution in China posed a ‘threat’ to the United States.”

The legislation marks DeSantis’ latest effort to implement conservative talking points in schools. Last year, his administration banned the teaching of an Advanced Placement course on African American studies in high schools, and it approved academic standards stating that Black slaves in America benefited from their enslavement.

The year prior, he signed a bill that critics dubbed “Don’t Say Gay,” with the law largely forbidding instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in most elementary school classrooms.

Under his leadership, Florida has removed hundreds of books, including dictionaries, from school shelves under the pretense of protecting kids.

Florida students’ scores on the SAT and ACT ― standardized exams required by most major universities for admission ― rank among the lowest in the U.S.