EXCLUSIVE: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday rolled out a list of more than a dozen school board members he plans to target in 2024 to protect Florida students and parents from ‘woke’ ideologies seeping into classrooms across the Sunshine State, Fox News Digital has learned.
DeSantis met with Florida House Speaker Paul Renner, Moms for Liberty co-founders Tina Descovich and Tiffany Justice and key leaders in Florida’s school board reform movement in a Tuesday morning meeting.
During that strategy session, DeSantis unveiled his initial 2024 school board target list, which features 14 school board members across the state who ‘do not protect parental rights and have failed to protect students from woke ideologies.’
The school board members DeSantis plans to target are from Brevard County, Duval County, Hillsborough County, Indian River County, Miami-Dade County, Pinellas County, Volusia County and Sarasota County.
Fox News Digital has learned that, ahead of 2024, DeSantis will work with key leaders in the state’s school board reform movement to identify the first round of opportunities to recruit new candidates to serve on boards across Florida.
‘Our children’s education is a no-fail mission. We will continue to support Florida school board candidates who promote the components of a world-class education and defeat those that are focused on the latest ideological trends,’ Renner said in a statement to Fox News Digital. ‘Make no mistake, we intend to win as Florida’s future is too important.’
Descovich and Justice said in a statement to Fox News Digital that DeSantis’ leadership in education and focus on school board races ‘has been a game changer for Florida.’
‘He is building the model for how governors should champion parental rights in every state in the country,’ they said. ‘We are so thankful for his willingness to take on this fight!’
DeSantis, who began his second term as governor of Florida last month, launched the ‘DeSantis Education Agenda’ in 2022, a 10-point ‘student-first, parent-centered’ initiative to ensure parental rights in education.
It was also established to prevent the ‘woke agenda’ from infiltrating Florida’s public schools.
DeSantis’ agenda is for school board candidates and board members who ‘are committed to advancing these priorities at the local school board level.’
The agenda calls for keeping schools opened and rejecting lockdowns, educating and not indoctrinating, ensuring parental rights and keeping ‘woke gender ideology out of schools,’ supporting civics education, expanding workforce development and technical education, rejecting the use of critical race theory in the curriculum, increasing teacher pay, continuing support for school security and mental health initiatives, and protecting and guaranteeing the right of parents to petition school boards with regard to curriculum.
Last year, DeSantis invited school board candidates to run directly on his agenda and apply for endorsements. Last cycle, the governor endorsed 30 candidates in the primary and another four in the general election.
Across the state, DeSantis invested more than $2 million in the targeted races. His office told Fox News Digital that he made his ‘entire political operation available to the candidates, offering trainings on policy, communications and field operations.’
In total, 29 out of DeSantis’ 34 endorsed candidates won their races and serve on school boards across the Sunshine State.
In his inaugural address last month, DeSantis vowed more education reforms in his second term, saying that Florida ‘must always be a great place to raise a family.’
‘We will defend our children against those who seek to rob them of their innocence,’ DeSantis said, adding that Floridians ‘reject this woke ideology.’
‘We seek normalcy, not philosophical lunacy,’ DeSantis said. ‘Florida is where woke goes to die.’