Florida Board of Education approves controversial Black history teaching standards

Orlando, Florida - The Florida Board of Education has passed new teaching standards for African American history courses, which has been met with heavy criticism.

The Black History Matters mural painted on the street in front of The Woodson African American Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida.
The Black History Matters mural painted on the street in front of The Woodson African American Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida.  © IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

According to CNN, the board, made up of 13 members, approved the standards during a meeting on Wednesday.

In a list posted to the board's website, middle school students will now be required to be taught "how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit" and events such as the Tulsa Race Massacre and the Ocoee massacre will have to include "acts of violence perpetrated against and by African Americans."

The standards were created in the wake of legislation passed by state Governor Ron DeSantis, which made it forbidden to discuss privilege or oppression based on race.

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DeSantis has been adamantly fighting what he calls "wokeness," implementing policies that ban leftist ideologies. His legislation and the new standards have been challenged by critics who say it attempts to alter the way history is taught and doesn't give the full truth.

Alex Lanfranconi, director of communications for the department, defended the standards, which he says incorporate "the good, the bad, and the ugly" of African American history.

"It's sad to see critics attempt to discredit what any unbiased observer would conclude to be in-depth and comprehensive African American History standards," Lanfranconi said.

He went on to add that the standards will help "cement Florida as a national leader in education, as we continue to provide true and accurate instruction in African American History."

NAACP responds to the new education standards in Florida

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), who recently issued a travel advisory against Florida due to DeSantis' harsh policies, released a scathing statement in response to the new standards, which Derrick Johnson, president of the civil rights organization, described as "an attempt to bring our country back to a 19th century America where Black life was not valued, nor our rights protected."

"It is imperative that we understand that the horrors of slavery and Jim Crow were a violation of human rights and represent the darkest period in American history," Johnson said.

"Our children deserve nothing less than truth, justice, and the equity our ancestors shed blood, sweat, and tears for," he added.

The Florida Education Association was also critical of the standards, describing them as "a big step backward for a state that has required teaching African American history since 1994."

Cover photo: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

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