Middle school students in Florida will be taught that slavery gave black people ‘skills’ that could be ‘used to their personal advantage’, in a new curriculum.
The Florida Board of Education approved new rules for teaching black history in the state during a public meeting in Orlando on Wednesday.
A 216-page document posted on the Florida Department of Education website includes new instructions for middle school teachers.
This includes how students should be taught ‘how slaves developed skills, which in some cases could be applied to their personal advantage’.
Other directives would include significant massacres against African Americans that would change that they also contributed to the violence.
At Wednesday’s meeting, Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr., pictured here, decided to go ahead and implement the standards.
Florida Gov. and Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis, S.C., at the Celebrate Freedom Foundation hangar in West Columbia on Tuesday.
The Ococee Massacre in 1920, in which 30 to 35 African Americans died after being attacked by a mob, would require teaching that ‘acts of violence’ were committed ‘against and by African Americans’.
Those who died in Okosi were trying to vote when the massacre began.
Similar practices would be used for other massacres, including the Atlanta Massacre, the Tulsa Massacre, and the Rosewood Massacre.
Students will also be expected to identify famous African Americans such as Rosa Parks, but not understand why these people are important or detail their history or struggles.
Many teachers objected to the new rules and asked for the proposals to be shelved.
Science teacher Carol Cleaver told those attending the meeting: ‘These new standards represent only half the story and half the truth.
‘When we name political figures who worked to end slavery, but leave out anyone who worked to keep slavery legally nameless – the children themselves are forced to fill in the blanks.’
At the meeting, Education Commissioner Manny Diaz, Jr. said: ‘What we should try to do is give our students all this information and let them form their own opinions.
‘That is the real education.’
The images above, taken from the wider publication, show the curriculum changes that are called for
Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. said they should let children form their own opinions
Debating the teachers’ response, member Marilyn Mager, appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, said that ‘everything is there’ and addressed dark parts of American history.
A statement issued by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) called the curriculum ‘sanitized and dishonest’.
Their president and CEO Derrick Johnson said: ‘Today’s action by Florida state government is an attempt to return our country to 19th century America where black lives were not valued, and our rights were not protected.
‘It is imperative that we understand that the horrors of slavery and Jim Crow were human rights abuses and represent the darkest period in American history. We refuse to go back.
‘The NAACP has been fighting corrupt actors within the DeSantis administration for more than a century, and we stand ready to continue that fight by any means necessary.
‘Our children deserve nothing less than the blood, sweat and tears our forefathers shed for truth, justice and righteousness.
NAACP President Derrick Johnson said the decision was an attempt to ‘return our country to 19th century America’.
Governor DeSantis previously voted for legislation to allow parents to file lawsuits against school districts accused of teaching critical race theory.
The Florida Education Association, a statewide teachers union, said in a statement: ‘The Florida State Board of Education today adopted new standards in African American history.
‘In doing so, they have confirmed the worst fears educators had when the Stop Walk Act was signed into law last year.
‘These new standards are a disservice to Florida students and a major step forward for the state, which has required the teaching of African American history since 1994.’
Their statement continued: ‘No matter what they look like or where they come from, all our children must have the freedom to learn the full and honest history of our nation.’
In a joint statement, members of Florida’s African American History Standards Workgroup. William Allen and Dr. Francis Presley Rice said: ‘Our workgroup began in February and worked through May to ensure that the new standards provide comprehensive and rigorous instruction on African American history.
‘We proudly stand behind this African American history standard.’
This latest push to change the Florida curriculum comes after Governor DeSantis passed legislation that bars schools from teaching instruction that suggests someone is privileged or oppressed based on their race or skin color.
DeSantis also previously unveiled the Stop WOKE Act, which would allow parents to file lawsuits against school districts accused of teaching critical race theory.
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