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DeSantis Engineered A Florida Brain-Drain, Creating A Fine Home For Intellectually-Challenged MAGATs

Republicans In Texas And Ohio Want Brain-Drains Too

If you’re a fascist or a racist and want live somewhere run by fascists and racists, want to live someplace where fascists and racists set the rules, but feel Idaho, Wyoming and the Dakotas are too remote… there’s Florida. In 2022, Florida had the biggest net influx of people, 318,855. Many will ultimately join many Floridians leaving the state, citing severe weather, low wages, crowded beaches, changing politics, and steep housing prices. It’s the least affordable state in the Union and least livable when you compare wages to cost of living. No state income taxes are attractive; through the roof property taxes, less so.

But the people I know who are fleeing the state are citing something else: “fascism.” Last week, Greg Sargent asserted that across America young voters are turning left because of

  • Mass shootings rising

  • Extreme climate events accelerating

  • Pandemic exposed economic precarity

  • Red states ramping up assault on LGBTQ

Florida is worse off than other states in each category of dissatisfaction. And more and more people aren’t just turning left; they’re leaving. While morons are flocking to Florida, the state is undergoing an actual brain drain. DeSantis’ campaign against woke, is a campaign against intelligent people, reminiscent of Hitler's campaign against intellectuals in the 1930s. There was a moment in Oppenheimer where American scientists, worried that Germany was ahead of the U.S. in building an atomic bomb, noted that Hitler's distrust of research that involved Jews led to insufficient investment in the project. Albert Speer, Minister of Armaments and War Production, once said that "The point is that the whole structure of the relationship between the scientist and the state in Germany was such that although we were not 100% anxious to do it, on the other hand we were so little trusted by the state that even if we had wanted to do it, it would not have been easy to get it through."

Joseph Contreras wrote that “Liz Leininger, an associate professor of neurobiology, started looking for an exit strategy as soon as DeSantis started targeting higher education with his anti-woke campaign. “[A]s the Republican-controlled Florida legislature passed a series of bills over the last two years that sought to curtail academic freedom and render a professor’s tenure subject to review at any time, Leininger witnessed first-hand the devastating effects of the new laws on her colleagues’ morale. ‘All of the legislation surrounding higher education in Florida is chilling and terrifying,’ said Leininger, who is rejoining the biology department at St Mary’s College in Maryland this fall where she had been teaching before moving to central Florida. ‘Imagine scientists who are studying climate change, imagine an executive branch that denies climate change— they could use these laws to intimidate or dismiss those scientists.’”

The new laws have introduced a ban on the funding of diversity, equity and inclusion programs at Florida’s public colleges and universities, withdrawn a right to arbitration formerly guaranteed to faculty members who have been denied tenure or face dismissal, and prohibited the teaching of critical race theory, which contends that inherent racial bias pervades many laws and institutions in western society, among other changes.
In the face of that and other legislation backed by DeSantis and Republican lawmakers that has rolled back the rights of Florida’s LGBTQ+ community, many scholars across the state are taking early retirement, voting with their feet by accepting job offers outside Florida or simply throwing in the towel with a letter of resignation.
…Andrew Gothard, the state-level president of the United Faculty of Florida labor union, predicts a loss of between 20 and 30% of faculty members at some universities during the upcoming academic year in comparison with 2022-23, which would signify a marked increase in annual turnover rates that traditionally have stood at 10% or less.
James Pascoe moved to the Gainesville campus of the University of Florida in 2018, the same year that DeSantis was first elected governor. Three years later, the Dallas native started looking for jobs elsewhere when new disclosure requirements made it more difficult for Pascoe to apply for grants. An unsuccessful attempt by the DeSantis administration to prohibit three University of Florida colleagues from testifying as expert witnesses in a voting rights case raised more alarm bells in Pascoe’s mind.
Then came the passage of legislation in March 2022 that banned the discussion of gender identity and sexuality with elementary school students between kindergarten and the third grade. Pascoe and his male partner began to worry about their future eligibility for adopting children in an environment that was becoming increasingly hostile to gay couples in their judgment.

“It was becoming clear that the university was becoming politicized,” the 33-year-old assistant professor of mathematics said. “When I was waiting to hear back on job applications, they started passing all these vaguely anti-gay, anti-LGBTQ+ laws. The state didn’t seem to be a good place for us to live in any more.”
In the summer of 2022, Pascoe accepted a comparable position at Drexel University in Philadelphia. His partner followed suit by joining the biology department at Haverford College in a nearby suburb.
The prevailing political climate in Florida has complicated efforts to recruit qualified scholars from outside the state to fill some vacancies. Kenneth Nunn served on a number of appointment committees during the more than 30 years he spent on the faculty of the University of Florida’s law school. He said the task of persuading highly qualified applicants of color to move to Gainesville has never been more difficult under a governor who, earlier this year, prohibited a new advanced placement course in African American studies from being taught in high schools.
DeSantis came under renewed criticism this month when the state department of education issued guidelines recommending that middle school students be taught about the skills slaves acquired “for their personal benefit” during their lifetimes in bondage.
“Florida is toxic,” noted Nunn, one of the few Black members of the law school faculty who says he chose to retire last January in part because of the legislated ban on the teaching of critical race theory. “It has been many years since we last hired an entry-level African American faculty member. They’re just not interested in being in a place where something with the stature of critical race theory is being denigrated and attacked.”
The 65-year-old Nunn will be teaching law in the fall in Washington DC as a visiting professor at Howard University, one of the nation’s leading historically Black colleges and universities.
“I could have stayed in a place where I’m not wanted and tough it out,” he adds. “Or I could retire and look for work elsewhere.”
In the end, Nunn says, concerns about his professional career and even his own physical safety made that decision a relatively easy one.

Florida’s New College, not a party school but a serious academic institution, was high on DeSantis’ enemies list and targeted for special treatment. So now, with the academic year about to restart, 36 of the approximately 100 full-time teaching positions are vacant. DeSantis has described the school as too woke-friendly and moved to change that by appointing neanderthals and fascists to the school’s board of trustees. The neanderthals and fascists are now a majority and at the first meeting of the new board, it “voted to fire the college president, Patricia Okker, without cause and appoint a former Republican state legislator and education commissioner in her place. Over the ensuing weeks, board members have dismissed the college’s head librarian and director of diversity programs and denied tenure to five professors who had been recommended for approval.”

Writing for the Chronicle of Higher Education, Megan Zahneis reported that “Recently proposed and passed legislation that targets tenure and diversity, equity and inclusion efforts are having a chilling effect on the recruitment of faculty members and administrators to Florida and Texas, where some of the highest profile of such laws and bills have been undertaken… Faculty and union leaders there say would-be faculty members are questioning whether it’s wise to accept jobs where their research or teaching could be subject to political interference, public institutions’ DEI work is being curtailed, and the job security tenure has traditionally afforded is being undermined… In Florida, some candidates’ concerns are so profound that they’re turning down job offers in the state— despite not having other offers, said Andrew Gothard, president of the United Faculty of Florida, a union representing faculty at all 12 of the state’s public universities, a private one, and community colleges… When candidates do raise concerns about the political climate, faculty-hiring committees have to acknowledge the possible threat to their ways of working, and are unable to offer reassurance or certainty to worried applicants, Gothard said. ‘The only answers they can give right now are, Well, if Governor DeSantis had his way, yes, you would be targeted, and yes, the state does want to limit what can and cannot be taught, studied or researched on our campuses,’ he said.”

Francisco Alvarado: “Campuses at Florida public universities are experiencing an exodus of faculty members, while out-of-state professors searching for new jobs are saying ‘no thanks’ to working in the Sunshine State under the rule of Gov. Ron DeSantis. Fueled by presidential ambitions, the governor is waging a culture war on ‘wokeism’ in higher education that’s created a chilling effect in attracting and keeping educators at Florida State University in Tallahassee, the University of Central Florida in Orlando and Miami-Dade County’s Florida International University, according to faculty union leaders.”

Caden DeLisa: “Florida is currently facing a severe teacher shortage, with vacant teaching positions rising by 21 percent compared to the previous year and more than 200 percent since 2018. The state is experiencing a significant deficit in qualified teachers… A growing number of educators are opting to depart from the field, culminating in an acute shortage of qualified teachers in schools, which in turn has given rise to ballooning class sizes.”

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