TAMPA, FL (TodayNews) — The Florida Board of Education approved several new controversial rules Wednesday in Orlando.
This upcoming school year will be unlike any other in Florida’s history due to changes in the council as well as laws passed by the legislature and signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis.
One rule that is being rebuffed is changing the standard for teaching African American history. Critics say the new standards are trying to rewrite black history, but those who support the change say it includes “the good, the bad, and the ugly.”
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Several Democratic lawmakers attended Wednesday’s board meeting. Each disagreed with the standards and raised a specific issue with one change in instruction that would include “how the slaves developed skills that in some cases could be applied to their personal gain.”
“Any standards that indicate that slavery benefited black people is such an insult,” said State Rep. Rita Harris.
“The notion that enslaved people benefit from being enslaved is an inaccurate and frightening standard for us to set in our education system.” This was stated by member of the State House of Representatives Anna Escamani.
The rule was also opposed by a coalition of black leaders and community groups who sent a letter to the board arguing that the standards “intentionally omit or rewrite key historical facts about the black experience.”
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“The state, under Governor DeSantis, has really created a culture where people can ask questions about whether there is value in black research,” Equal Ground political director Genesis Robinson said.
Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz dismissed the criticism, noting the lengthy process of approving new standards.
The new rule for teaching African American history, along with several others, will be rolled out to classrooms across the state this school year.