On Wednesday, a dispute reportedly erupted over Florida’s new curriculum about the history of slavery between Republican Florida Rep. Byron Donalds and the governor’s senior advisers.
The curriculum, which was authorized last week, includes lessons on how “slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit,” in accordance with Florida’s 2023 State Academic Standards.
“The new African-American standards in FL 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 [Florida Department of Education] will correct this.” Donalds said.
DeSantis acknowledged that he wasn’t involved in creating the new criteria but agreed that slaves “eventually parlayed” the talents they acquired into occupations in later life. He made this statement to reporters last Friday.
DeSantis’s closest advisers and representatives rebuked Donalds for his criticism of the standards and Donalds fired back.
What's crazy to me is I expressed support for the vast majority of the new African American history standards and happened to oppose one sentence that seemed to dignify the skills gained by slaves as a result of their enslavement.
Anyone who can't accurately interpret what I… https://t.co/b6hqaSJtlp
— Byron Donalds (@ByronDonalds) July 27, 2023
The 2023 AP African American history curriculum published by the College Board, which emphasizes that slaves mastered specialized occupations and… utilized these abilities to provide for themselves and others, reflects Florida’s new academic norm addressing slavery.