Have you ever heard , read, or said any of these phrases:
“to be or not to be”
“pure as the driven snow”
“all that glitters isn’t gold”
“all the world is a stage”
“clothes make the man”
“it’s Greek to me”
“method in his madness”
“neither a borrower nor a lender be”
“heart of gold”
“wear one’s heart on one’s sleeve”
Then you are and will be better educated than the high school students in Hillsborough County [ Tampa ]. Yup. The politicians who run the K-12 education system in this county have decided that Romeo and Juliet is too pornographic to allow it to be read in high school. Under Governor DeSantis and the Republican-controlled state legislature, a bill was passed that lets parents and local politicians make decisions on things unacceptable for students in K-12.
Shakespeare died 407 years ago and ever since has been regarded as the greatest writer in the English language. That is until the supreme arbiters on literature and civilization from Hillsborough County decided that “Romeo and Juliet” is pornography.
As subscribers know, I have written several columns recently about the increasingly rapid degradation of Florida, my forecasts for Florida and a general displeasure about the politicians who seem to not care about the state, the people that live in it and the beauty that is rapidly viewed only in the rear-view mirror.
As I wrote in an earlier column this year, “Politics is Changing Florida’s Brand” outside Florida, nationally and globally, people are asking “what is going on in Florida?” Here is a recent bit of reporting on Australia’s national newscast . So think about this: the next time you meet an Australian and say you are from Florida, they might well say “Oh, isn’t that the state that banned Shakespeare?”
This of course, follows on the heels of the “Don’t Say Gay” law the DeSantis administration had passed last year, which prevents the discussion of gender and sexuality in the states’ K-12 curriculum.
That was followed by the refusal by the state of Florida to any longer allow the College AP course on African-American history created by the prestigious College Board. The state politicians don’t want to have slavery taught in schools. Rather they have introduced a history of slavery that speaks about the benefits of slavery to provide vocational training for blacks.
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Right after that, the state ruled against the College Board’s AP course on psychology taught in the US due to the fact that it discusses gender issues.
Then Governor DeSantis approved climate denial videos to be shown in K-12 schools. Florida has long ranked as the state most at risk for climate change, but for some reason, the state’s governor has said about this topic: “ climate change is left-wing stuff” What? Toeing the party line in the face of science for the citizens of a state that is most threatened by climate change?
So in the state of Florida, or parts of it, Florida children are not being taught about slavery, gender, psychology, climate change or the greatest English writer who ever lived.
Here is what Diogenes said about education:
The foundation of every state is the education of its youth.”
What would he say about the K-12 system in Florida?
Or Horace Mann, the acknowledged father of American Public School who said:
“Public Education is the cornerstone of our community and our democracy."
There is no way to look at this issue without concluding that the politicians running the state of Florida currently do not care that they are restricting the children of the state from getting an education that can compete with children from other states.
The morality and politics of Florida’s politicians seem to be of greater value than the future of the state’s children.
To these politicians, Shakespeare might say:
They are “Laughing-stocks” The Merry Wives of Windsor
The “Truth will out” Merchant of Venice
That they are the “devil incarnate” Titus Andronicus/Henry V
That they are “play fast and loose” with education and the truth
That these politicians “set my teeth on edge” Henry IV Part 1
Well, as Shakespeare wrote “Ignorance is the curse of God; knowledge is the wing wherewith we fly to heaven”
Where are Florida politicians trying to send the state’s children?