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Wednesday, Apr 24, 2024

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

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

DeSantis has targeted New College of Florida, known for its LGBT friendly atmosphere, as part of his crusade against "woke" ideology.
Governor Ron DeSantis is taking his crusade against "woke ideology" to higher education, taking aim at a small public college known for its LGBT-friendly community.

His target: New College of Florida, a liberal arts school with less than 700 students, outside of Sarasota, Florida.

In January, DeSantis appointed six conservative education leaders to the school's board of 13 total trustees. In February, the freshly-appointed board hired a new president, Richard Corcoran, according to The 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, New College of Florida has eliminated the school's "Office of Outreach and Inclusive Excellence," AP reported, and will now accept a faith-based SAT alternative test centered on the "great classical and Christian tradition."

Insider previously reported that the exam, known as the Classic Learning Test, or CLT, is billed as being "steeped in content that is intellectually richer and more rigorous than other standardized tests and college entrance exams," and is largely utilized in private schools and home-school environments.

The test questions are structured similarly to SAT and ACT questions, with reading comprehension questions geared toward faith-based texts and themes.

Though Jeremy Tate, the test's founder, has previously said he doesn'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 Reformation Bible College and Trinity Baptist College.

New College of Florida is the first public school in Florida to accept the CLT as an alternative to other 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.

Corcoran said in a statement announcing the change that SAT and ACT scores will be accepted in addition to 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's statement read.

The Herald Tribune reported the changes have 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 Governor DeSantis and New College of Florida did not immediately respond to Insider's requests for comment.
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