A DeSantis-appointed board made this college ground zero for his education agenda. In less than 6 months, the college eliminated its diversity board and will now accept a Christian-focused SAT-alternative from high schools in the state.
- As part of his crusade against "woke" ideology, Gov. Ron DeSantis is focusing on a public college.
- In January, the governor made new appointments to the New College of Florida's board of trustees.
Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida is taking his crusade against "woke ideology" to higher education, taking aim at a small public college known for having an LGBTQ+ friendly community.
His target is the New College of Florida, a liberal-arts school with fewer than 700 students outside Sarasota, Florida.
In January, DeSantis appointed six conservative education leaders to the school's board of 13 trustees. In February, the freshly-appointed board hired a new president, Richard Corcoran, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Corcoran previously served as Florida's education commissioner under DeSantis, pushing against teacher's unions and advocating for more parental influence in schools.
Under Corcoran's leadership, the New College of Florida eliminated the school's "Office of Outreach and Inclusive Excellence" and would accept a faith-based SAT alternative test centered on the "great classical and Christian tradition," AP reported.
Insider previously reported that the exam, known as the Classic Learning Test, was billed as being "steeped in content that was intellectually richer and more rigorous than other standardized tests and college-entrance exams" and was largely utilized in private schools and home-school environments.
The test questions are structured similarly to SAT and ACT questions, with reading-comprehension questions that are geared toward faith-based texts and themes.
Though the founder of the test, Jeremy Tate, said he didn't want the CLT to "be a Trumpy or conservative test," the CLT is currently accepted in place of SAT scores at several religiously-affiliated institutions throughout the state, including the Reformation Bible College and the Trinity Baptist College.
The New College of Florida is the first public school in the state to accept the CLT as an alternative to standardized tests. The college's endorsement of the test paves the way to normalizing its usage over other tests regulated by the College Board, the not-for-profit organization that oversees the SATs.
In a statement announcing the change, Corcoran said that SAT and ACT scores would be accepted alongside the CLT.
"Not only is this a tremendous opportunity for New College, but with the growing popularity of the CLT among Florida homeschoolers and classically educated students, we believe this is an exciting step for educational choice and freedom in our state as well," Corcoran wrote.
The Herald-Tribune reported that the changes had prompted protests from students, who hosted their own commencement celebration and booed Scott Atlas, who spoke during the official ceremony. Atlas was a special adviser in the Trump White House during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Representatives for Gov. DeSantis and the New College of Florida did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
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