The Effects of the Decision to Replace a Core Requirement

The Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) has implemented strict regulations to limit the use of public funds for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) programs, activities and policies in the Florida College System (FCS). The Board of Education is a committee chosen by Florida’s governor, currently Ron DeSantis, to oversee decisions. As Florida’s Department of Education moves to recreate an education system that resembles their beliefs, a core class has been removed from their curriculum. Florida has voted to drop “The Principles of Sociology” as a general education requirement. This course was instead replaced with a history course that is meant to be a “comprehensive general education core course in American History.” Replacing Sociology with a general history course is not only a slap in the face to public Florida universities’ Sociology departments but also a disservice to students attending these schools.

This isn’t the first time that the Board of Education has removed a course from the public school system and also placed a ban on the new AP African American Studies course. The reasons they provided for banning this course is because of the state’s concerns of the curriculum. They think the course contains “woke ideology,” because it violates the Individual Freedom bill, also known as the “Stop W.O.K.E.” act, and the Parental Rights in Education bill, also known as the “Don’t Say Gay” act.

Sociology is defined by Case Western Reserve University as the study of social life, social change and the social causes and consequences of human behavior. Sociologists investigate the structure of groups, organizations and societies and how people interact within these contexts. According to Salem State University, Sociology helps students develop a better understanding of the social world – a skill that is crucial in the professional world. Once students, in healthcare, business or any field, understand why the people they are catering to perceive the world, then they will be more successful at positively impacting them.

“Higher education must return to its essential foundations of academic integrity and the pursuit of knowledge instead of being corrupted by destructive ideologies,” Florida Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr. said. “These actions today ensure that we will not spend taxpayers’ money supporting DEI and radical indoctrination that promotes division in our society.”

While some might claim that it is a good choice to change Sociology as a core requirement because it leans on theory too much rather than facts, much of sociology deals with data and interpreting it. In fact, the “Introductory Sociology” course at Florida State University has in its description that it has an “emphasis is placed on exposure to basic findings of empirical research studies in a wide range of areas traditionally examined by sociologists.” Moreover, the course was pulled because the FLDOE has a “focus on preparing students for high-demand, high-wage jobs.” In the professional world, people need to be able to hear something, interpret it according to their own morals, views and best interests and then react accordingly. Pulling out a harmless course because the Board of Education is worried about indoctrination will not produce diverse thinkers but rather clones of what the Board wants.

The FLDOE has its reasons for the replacement, but students should be able to have access to the same courses that students in other states have without having to major in a topic to see if they like it.