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### Florida Governor DeSantis Enacts Education Reform Bill Restricting School Book Challenges


Gov. Ron DeSantis/Twitter

Following the submission of over 1,200 objections to school-library materials last academic year, Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill on Tuesday aimed at restricting challenges from certain individuals.

The comprehensive bill (HB 1285) encompasses various provisions, including streamlining the process for charter schools to assume control of underperforming traditional public schools.

The segment addressing book challenges was prompted by recent legislative actions that intensified scrutiny of library books and educational materials, particularly after contentious debates over book removals.

A Senate staff analysis revealed that over half of the 1,218 book objections in the 2022-2023 school year originated from Clay and Escambia counties, leading to the removal of 186 books in these areas.

Under the new bill, individuals who are not parents or guardians of students with access to school materials are limited to objecting to one item per month.

During a media event, Governor DeSantis criticized the misuse of parental rights and curriculum transparency by individuals filing mass objections to books, describing it as a distortion of the process.

Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. expressed optimism that the limitation on book challenges would facilitate a more efficient review process for school districts.

Additionally, the bill addresses the conversion of underperforming public schools to charter schools, expediting the transition process to prevent delays in providing quality education to students.

Furthermore, the legislation introduces the concept of a “classical education teaching certificate” for educators in classical schools, recognizing the unique requirements of teaching in such institutions.

Overall, the bill aims to enhance the efficiency of school operations and ensure that educational materials align with the state’s educational objectives.