The Florida Board of Education has approved a controversial set of academic standards for African American social studies classes in K-12 schools.
The standards, which are being released as Gov. Ron DeSantis and other Florida Republicans have continued a crusade against public education, include language that states “slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.”
The standards guide says instruction will also include mention of “violence perpetrated against and by African Americans.” It adds that students will be taught to “identify” famous Black people, but it fails to make it necessary for students to learn about each of their contributions, challenges and stories overall.
Earlier this year, the board banned the teaching of Advanced Placement African American Studies in high schools across the state. It claimed the course “significantly lacks educational value” and contradicted Florida law.
The AP studies course, unlike this newly approved set of standards, includes Black feminist thought from scholars like Kimberlé Crenshaw and bell hooks, and African American scholars such as Angela Davis. The course also introduces Black queer studies, intersectionality and more.
A group of 11 organizations, including the NAACP, sent a letter to the board president slamming the decision, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.
“We owe the next generation of scholars the opportunity to know the full unvarnished history of this state and country and all who contributed to it ― good and bad,” the group of organizations, which also included the Florida Education Association, said in the letter.
In a news release emailed to HuffPost, the Florida Education Association expressed concern with the standards, arguing that it skews history and puts Florida students at a disadvantage.
“How can our students ever be equipped for the future if they don’t have a full, honest picture of where we’ve come from,” asked Andrew Spar, president of the Florida Education Association.
“Gov. DeSantis is pursuing a political agenda guaranteed to set good people against one another, and in the process he’s cheating our kids. They deserve the full truth of American history, the good and the bad,” Spar added.
The Florida Board of Education did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
DeSantis has declared his candidacy for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. So far the clear leader in the GOP field is former President Donald Trump.