Letter from the CEO

June 2, 2023

Dear valued customers,

Recent actions by Florida's current administration, led by Governor Ron DeSantis, have sparked significant concern and protest. The administration appears to be waging an aggressive campaign against Black Americans, the accurate portrayal of Black history, voting rights, members of the LGBTQ+ community, immigrants, women's reproductive rights, and free speech. Amidst these actions, an unsettling climate of fear, bullying, and intimidation seems to be encouraged, particularly among public officials. A clear illustration of this is Governor DeSantis' ratification of various controversial anti-civil rights laws, such as the Florida HB 1, Florida HB 7, House HB 543, Senate Bill 266, and Senate Bill 7066.

Under this administration, Florida's educational system has not only been stifled in terms of presenting a comprehensive and accurate historical curriculum but has also witnessed a severe attack on diversity and inclusion. One such instance involved a discouraging response to an article on this subject by ETC’s director of diversity and inclusion from a Montessori teacher who rejected the piece on the grounds of critical race theory being a means to propagate hate. Such misconceptions serve to further perpetuate misinformation and impede understanding of basic human rights and principles.

Given these circumstances, we at ETC Montessori have decided to opt out of the upcoming AMS 2024 conference in Orlando, Florida. The state's hostile laws and legislative practices, which seem to nurture a culture of fear and marginalization, starkly conflict with our organization's values of inclusivity, equity, and the protection of individual rights. Our participation in the conference could potentially be construed as a silent endorsement of these regressive measures, which we categorically reject. As a result, we have resolved to stand firm against such policies and express our solidarity with the communities they adversely affect by not attending the conference.

We wish to make it clear that our support for AMS and the educators and schools in Florida remains unwavering. However, we have chosen not to contribute financially to a local economy that could potentially fuel the current discriminatory legislation. Instead, we will redirect our resources to assist Montessorians in ways that do not inadvertently support these obstructive policies.

With Respect,

Aki Margaritis

Erika Ohlhaver
President and Executive Director