Florida takes another brilliant step toward righting wrongs in education
Florida has been on a roll, doing one thing after another to clean up its education system. In the past year, it passed a bill blocking universities from censoring (conservative) political views; banned communist-controlled Confucius Institutes from campuses; mandated that high school students learn financial literacy; banned Critical Race Theory in public schools; and, of course, passed the Parental Rights in Education bill, preventing teachers from instructing their five- to eight-year-old students about sexuality. What also happened last week was that Florida got a new law limiting tenure at Florida's public universities.
Tenure — permanent job security for college and university professors who have managed to maintain their jobs for a certain period — is a relatively new concept. It began in 1940, when the American Association of University Professors created a Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure holding that academic integrity requires that professors must be free from the fear of firing.
Perhaps tenure made sense when Nazis (who were socialists) were using political brute force to purge German campuses of anybody who stood against their socialist totalitarianism. However, tenure makes less sense in America when college and university professors, who are almost entirely socialist, use academic brute force to indoctrinate students and stop people who are not hard left from getting hired.
If you're wondering why we should care about hiring and (not) firing academics at colleges and universities, there's a simple answer: it's because every single bad idea that's ripping America apart today originated or incubated in academia. Critical Race Theory started with multiple American legal scholars (and leftists); large chunks of modern feminist theory started on American campuses through the works of multiple (leftist) academics; Modern Monetary Theory, which says the government with a fiat currency (a world standard currency) can print money indefinitely, has been pushed by academics for decades now; and the LGBTQ+++ theories have a permanent home on American college campuses.
These pernicious ideas are then force-fed to students. At that point, the most rabid students remain in academia to indoctrinate the next generation, while the other students get management jobs in American corporations, where they drive corporate wokism.
Tenure also matters because many of the people who have tenure are incapable of teaching. My hostility to tenure developed long ago when I was a student at U.C. Berkeley and could count on the fingers of one hand the number of professors I had (all tenured) who deserved the right to be at the front of a classroom. But these professors published, so they kept grinding away, reading aloud from yellowed notes with no regard for actually teaching.
Image: The University of Florida's Library West by Porsche997SBS. Public domain.
Tenure is a lousy system that grants sinecures to undeserving people who would be unable to hold their jobs if they were working in a true merit-based system. But Florida is about to change that within its borders:
Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday signed a bill that makes it harder for faculty at state universities to retain tenure, framing the legislation as another way that he and the Legislature are working to prevent educators from bringing their political views into the classroom.
In a wide-ranging news conference at The Villages that took swings at Twitter and alleged that textbook publishers were peddling hidden agendas, DeSantis criticized what he called "lifetime appointments" for university professors.
"We need to make sure the faculty are held accountable and make sure they don't just have tenure forever without having any type of ways to hold them accountable or evaluate what they're doing," DeSantis said. "It's all about trying to make these institutions more in line with what the state's priorities are and, frankly, the priorities of the parents throughout the state of Florida."
Every five years, he said, tenured faculty would be required to go before their university's board of trustees, which could part ways with them. The text of the bill does not give that level of specificity but rather states a five-year review would take place to be determined by the state Board of Governors. Each state university already requires tenured professors to take part in an annual review.
The usual suspects complained. The whole point of tenure, pointed out Andrew Gothard, president of the United Faculty of Florida, is to ensure that the one reason faculty members cannot be fired is their politics. But what if politics makes a Florida professor fail a student who refused to renounce her Christian faith? And what do we do about the University of Florida, which named a study room after Karl Marx, whose philosophy has been responsible for over 100 million deaths?
The Florida Legislature, guided by Gov. Ron DeSantis, has just reminded public university employees that he who pays the piper calls the tune. In the case of public universities, it's Florida's taxpayers who pay the piper, and they are the ones who elected a Republican-majority Legislature that says it's time to rein in the anti-White, anti-Asian, misanthropic, anti-heterosexual, anti-American madness that is the dominant note on college and university campuses.