Florida State University’s Institute of Political Science was created by the Legislature in 2020 with a $1 million appropriation. It is modeled on Princeton’s James Madison Center, which promotes “the advancement of understanding and appreciation of American ideals and institutions.”
Currently, the FSU IOP conducts some public policy ballots and hosts speakers and researchers discussing citizenship, government, and public policy. Since its inception, however, its focus has been somewhat blurred.
Governor Ron DeSantis is working to make that mission clearer. Florida State University IOP will begin researching tools K-12 teachers can use to instruct students on what the governor called “individual liberty and democracy” in a leaflet of his plan, under a massive higher education initiative unveiled Tuesday.
There are two other programs similar to FSU’s IOP – one at the University of Florida and one at Florida International University.
Under the Governor’s plan, FIU’s program will work to develop classroom curricula that can be used with FSU tools and distributed to schools. By 2024, the University of Florida’s Hamilton Center will grow into a full college on the UF campus.
The governor sees this as an opportunity to promote what he calls Western ideals and push back what he sees as an “awakened” ideology that has infiltrated Florida’s public higher education.
That resistance includes prohibiting universities from investing in diversity, equity and inclusion spending. The governor also proposed limiting DEI spending at public universities and making it easier for teachers to be hired and fired. DeSantis also wants lawmakers to spend $100 million on teacher recruitment and retention.