Florida Curriculum on Black History Draws Fury from Educators, Others

Jul 24, 2023

Many people are angry about changes to what Florida’s middle and high school students must learn about history. This includes Vice President Kamala Harris. She says Florida is trying to make slavery in America's past look less bad.

The state board said that when students learn about slavery from the 1800s, they must also learn "how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit." 

They made this change to go along with a new rule in Florida. The Stop WOKE law says that schools and jobs can't make people feel bad or upset because of their race, color, sex, or where they come from.

Many teachers, people fighting for racial justice, and others are mad about the new way students will learn about slavery. Harris, the first African-American Vice President, went to Florida to speak against the new rules. She said, “Adults know what slavery really involved... It involved torture. It involved taking a baby from their mother." 

She asked how anyone could say that there was any good in being treated so horribly. 

But, officials in Florida said the new way of learning doesn't make slavery look less bad. It just shows more about Black history. Manny Diaz Jr. is the state’s education commissioner. He said, "It's the good, the bad, and the ugly in American history." Board member Kelly Garcia is also a teacher. She said that the ugly parts of US history are taught within these new rules. 

Photo from Reuters. 

Reflect: Does our understanding of the past affect the future? Explain. 

At the center of the argument about the changes in Florida's history curriculum is a disagreement between ______ and _______. (Common Core RI.5.9; RI.6.9)
a. Vice President Kamala Harris; racial justice advocates
b. Florida’s board of education; Florida's Stop WOKE law
c. all educators; Florida state officials
d. those who oppose the new guidelines; Florida’s board of education
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