Daytona Beach, FL (March 25, 2022) COVID ushered in a global paradigm shift, from employment and economics to education. Homebound and in the midst of the great awakening, parents became more keenly aware of what was being taught to their children in schools across the nation.
Signing HB 1467 Friday on the campus of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, it was the testimony of parents like Alicia Farrant that made the greatest impact to those assembled and listening. While describing the reading of materials found in her child’s library at school, it was during a school board meeting that friend and reporter Jacob Engels was forced to stop reading aloud due to the explicit nature.
“He was abruptly removed from the meeting due to the graphic content of what he read to a room full of adults,” shared Farrant during her remarks. “A book that was made easily accessible to our children in their school library, yet was deemed inappropriate for adults in a school board meeting.”
Distressed and disgusted, the result was Farrant – a mother of five children in Orange County’s public school system, signing up to run for school board to make a change.
“I’m here to advocate for our kids and be a voice for parents,” she said. “I never thought I’d be in politics, but here I am. If I don’t rise up, who will?”
Watching as the governor signed the legislation on Friday, Farrant was overjoyed.
“I am just thrilled that they are putting our children and families first.”
On hand as an example of the ‘Year of the Parent’, dozens of parents from Northeast and Central Florida lined the walls of the press conference including chair of the Moms for Liberty Flagler County Chapter, Shannon Rambow.
Among those who have been vocal in Flagler County’s own school board dust ups, Rambo said that with the signing of the bill providing for more transparency in schools across Florida regarding the selection of curriculum and library reading materials, and an avenue for parents to review and lodge objections for materials deviating from state standards or deemed to be inappropriate, she’s encouraged and ready to look ahead.
“I’m really excited to see the governor sign this amazing bill,” said Rambow.
“It’s the Year of the Parent. (I hope) that we can all come together. Many of these things I think that we can agree on as parents and just as human beings. Let’s get back to the basics with our kids – reading, writing, arithmetic. Moving forward, we’re on a mission.”
Joined by Flagler County School Board member Jill Woolbright, Pastor Jearlynn Dennie has been a staunch advocate for speaking up on behalf of children and parents, and defending the Parents’ Bill of Rights.
“I’m very excited about the transparency in our public school system and our education system,” said Dennie. “It’s important that parents and teachers and faculty and staff are completely aware of what’s being taught in our schools. I’m excited to be here today.”
Sharing a litany of wins on the education front over the past year, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis drew chuckles and cheers while speaking openly about his support for term limits – the second piece of the legislation’s teeth, from the local to the federal level.
“I’m a big believer that our Legislature should be term-limited and the school board. I’m also a big believer that members of Congress should be term limited,” he said.
“It would make a big, big difference. I don’t see how you drain a swamp when you have people there for 30 or 40 years. It just doesn’t work that way. So this is good for the school board. You know you don’t want little swamps at a school board either. But we can look to see how term limits in Florida has worked and apply that to DC,” said DeSantis, joined by Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson, Florida’s Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran, and Central Florida legislators for the bill signing.
A father of six, Corcoran offered his full-throated support of the Legislature’s efforts to define the roles and responsibilities of educators and parents in a student’s education.
“At the core of it, which you’ve heard from a lot of speakers, is accountability, transparency – and empowering parents makes everything better,” he said. “There’s no greater accountability than telling a politician your career ends dead certain at this point in time. Having term limits for school board members is long overdue.”
“The real winner today is our school children,” said Corcoran.
“Parents want education for their kids. They’re not interested in indoctrination through the school system,” said DeSantis. “We are going to make sure that parents have a seat at the table and that we protect their rights.”