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DeSantis invites Harris to discuss Florida's Black history curriculum

The recent changes made to the standards for teaching Black history in Florida have been met with some backlash.
Florida governor Ron DeSantis
Posted at 7:35 AM, Aug 01, 2023

Governor Ron DeSantis, in a letter posted online Monday night, invited Vice President Kamala Harris to Florida to discuss recent changes made to the standards for teaching Black history.

The Florida Board of Education approved the new standards in July, and the curriculum has been met with some backlash.

During a visit to Jacksonville in July, while speaking of the changes, Harris said extremists want to "replace history with lies."

"They dare to push propaganda to our children," she said. "This is the United States of America. We're not supposed to do that."

In his letter, DeSantis said Florida changed its curriculum to focus "on the basics of reading, writing, arithmetic, science, civics and history." He said Harris' comments about "extremists" was made to "score cheap political points."

In his letter to Harris, posted online by DeSantis' press secretary Jeremy Redfern, the governor said he was prepared to meet as early as Wednesday.

Florida Board of Education approves new Black History standards
Education Commissioner Manny Diaz. Jr. and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Florida Board of Education approves new Black History standards

A coalition of groups, including the Florida Education Association Teachers Union, is calling for the rejection and redrafting of the standards.


The revised standards require instruction for middle school students to include “how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit,” a document listing the standards and posted on the Florida Department of Education website said.

Florida Rep. Byron Donalds, the only Black Republican in the state, pushed back against that part of the new curriculum last week. He said online, the new standards are "good, robust, & accurate. That being said, the attempt to feature the personal benefits of slavery is wrong & needs to be adjusted. That obviously wasn't the goal & I have faith that FLDOE will correct this."

"What an example we could set for the nation — a serious conversation on the substance of an important issue!" DeSantis said in the letter to Harris.

Read the full letter below.

DeSantis Letter to VP Harris by ABC Action News

This story was originally published by Emily McCain at Scripps News Tampa.