Governor Ron DeSantis recently highlighted Florida’s continued commitment to expanding civics education in Florida schools and announced that the first 4,500 teachers have completed the Civics Seal of Excellence endorsement course and will receive a $3,000 bonus.
Enrollment for the course is at capacity with 20,000 teachers making their commitment to civics education, and there are additional 14,000 teachers on the waiting list for this first of a kind civics teacher professional development program.
“The U.S. has had a civics education crisis for many years, so Florida has stepped up for our students,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Boosting civics education and engaging our students is the best way to preserve the constitutional foundations that our country was built upon. These $3,000 bonuses provide a strong incentive for Florida teachers to put in the time necessary to take our civics course and earn the Civics Seal of Excellence.”
The Civics Seal of Excellence endorsement was launched in January of this year and more than 10,000 teachers registered for the course in the first week it was open. The Civics Seal of Excellence is a 50-hour endorsement program available to Florida teachers as part of Florida’s Civic Literacy Excellence Initiative.
The announcement is a continuation of Governor DeSantis’ commitment to advancing civics education.
The Governor prioritized civics education throughout his first term. In 2020, the Governor established the Florida Civics and Debate Initiative for students to learn about history and compete with their peers. By the end of this school year, Florida aims to have this initiative available to students in every county in the state. Florida hosted the first ever national Civics and Debate Championship in 2021.
Florida’s Civic Literacy Excellence Initiative also included a three-day Civics Excellence teacher training course in the summer of 2022 for teachers to increase their knowledge of civics in addition to the creation of supplemental materials for civics lessons including the Civics Reading List and the Portraits of Patriotism video series to further student interaction with civics.
“A robust civics education is necessary for students to become upstanding citizens,” said Florida Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr. “No state has made a more comprehensive effort to prepare its teaching workforce for civics excellence than Florida, and that’s a testament to Governor DeSantis’ leadership. The Civics Seal of Excellence Endorsement will greatly benefit our educators, students, state and country.”
Additionally, under Florida’s Civic Literacy Excellence Initiative, the Governor awarded $6.5 million to Polk State College, Broward College and Florida State College at Jacksonville to establish civics academies in partnership with local school districts. 1,000 students will be participating in the academies beginning in August. The Civics Academies will allow students to start preparing in 9th grade for meaningful careers while learning about the importance of public trust, government efficiency, and the values of our state and nation.