Florida’s Commission of Education yesterday denounced a GOP state legislator who claims that standardized testing is designed to turn students gay. Via the Associated Press:
American Institutes for Research is administering new statewide tests for students in Florida. The testing aligns with the nationwide Common Core standards that some states have accepted while others have rejected. Republican Rep. Charles Van Zant, of Keystone Heights, has said the testing company has a pro-homosexual agenda because it has done research on lesbian and gay issues. Speaking at an education conference in Orlando, Van Zant said the testing program would “attract every one of your children to become as homosexual as they possibly can.” Education Commissioner Pam Stewart said the testing firm does research for many clients and work for one does not influence its work for another. Stewart said AIR was selected according to normal procedures after officials reviewed various bids.
Van Zant has reaffirmed his beliefs with a local television station.
Van Zant confirmed he made the comments at an event two months ago, although he did not know he was being recorded on video. He said Common Core could introduce homosexuality to children, something he said should be left to parents to discuss with their kids. “I don’t think that has any place being introduced in Florida schools,” Van Zant said. “I further believe there is no place for that in Florida’s curriculum.” Van Zant said he takes issue with the research that’s going to be provided to teachers and administrators about the gay and lesbian lifestyle and how to deal with students. He said AIR is essentially promoting homosexuality. “If you just look on their website — air.org. You can see that they are very much in support (and) provide research data and information for the LGBT agenda, the gay, bisexual, transgender agenda,” he said.
From Equality Florida: “It is reprehensible whenever an elected official conjures up homophobic scare tactics for political gain. His assertion that an education program seeks to make children gay is absurd. I hope others in Florida government will swiftly distance themselves from a paranoid and unhinged view.”
Below are Van Zant’s comments as first reported by Think Progress. The second clip is today’s interview.