About a month after the Florida Board of Education unveiled new standards for teaching Black history — which include having teachers explain how enslaved people “developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit” — people in The Sunshine State are fighting back.
RELATED: Explained: What To Know About Florida’s New Curriculum For Teaching Black History In Public Schools
Activists Say Florida’s New Standards “Will Not Be Tolerated”
According to AP News, various teachers, students, and activists marched to the Miami-Dade County Public Schools headquarters to protest the new curriculum on Wednesday (Aug. 16).
Nearly 50 protesters made the mile-long march while chanting, “What do we want? Truth. When do we want it? Now. What if we don’t get it? Shut it down!” Upon arriving at the school board office, they were greeted by an additional group of protesters.
Melvin Dunn, a professor at Florida International University, organized the march, and he says that Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) and his “new state standards” will simply “not be tolerated.”
“These new state standards that DeSantis has come up with will not be tolerated in our schools. We will not let our children be taught that slaves benefited from their slavery. That’s a lie.”
“The true history is that Black people have always fought to make America what it ought to be, and it has always resisted what it could be. We’ve always fought for the America that we know is possible. That is not here yet.”
“I’m angry. Black America is angry. Our history is being assaulted by DeSantis.”
— Marvin Dunn, a Florida International University professor emeritus, explains why he led a protest to the school board headquarters in Miami yesterday over the state’s new Black history standards pic.twitter.com/WoyRXYBFr3
— The Recount (@therecount) August 17, 2023
Despite Pushback, Arkansas Hones In On AP African American History Courses
While on the subject of people pushing back against Florida’s new education standards, we should add that VP Kamala Harris (D) had some things to say about the matter.
AP News reports Harris blasted the effort as an attempt to “replace history with lies,” which she called “propaganda.”
“They dare to push propaganda to our children. This is the United States of America. We’re not supposed to do that.”
Harris was sure to also throw some indirect shade by referencing the state’s “so-called leaders.” Oop!
Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) also spoke out against DeSantis’ new standards, per AP News.
“What slavery was really about was separating families, about mutilating humans and even raping their wives. It was just devastating. So I would hope that every person in our country — and certainly running for president — would appreciate that.”
Scott added, “People have bad days. Sometimes they regret what they say. And we should ask them again to clarify their positions.”
Despite the pushback, Arkansas recently followed in Florida’s footsteps after recently declaring that AP African American History wouldn’t be recognized for course credit, the Arkansas Times reports. Nonetheless, the publication notes that schools in Little Rock, North Little Rock, and Jonesboro will continue to offer the course.