Kamala Harris Slams New Florida Rules For Teaching 'Benefit' Of Slavery

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Vice President Kamala Harris has condemned the new guidelines approved by the Florida Board of Education for teaching Black history in the state's public schools.

On Wednesday (July 19), the Florida Board Of Education approved the standards amid recently-signed state legislation that bars school curricula from suggesting that anyone is privileged or oppressed based on race or skin color.

Under the new standards, middle school students will be taught “how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit" during instruction about slavery, according to the Florida Department of Education website.

Harris called Florida's move to teach students about the "benefit" of slavery "an attempt to gaslight us."

"Speaking of our children, extremists pass book bans to prevent them from learning our true history – book bans in this year of our Lord 2023," Harris said on Thursday (July 20) during a speech at Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.'s national convention, per People. "And while they do this, check it out, they push forward revisionist history."

"Just yesterday in the state of Florida, they decided middle school students will be taught that enslaved people benefited from slavery," Harris continued. "They insult us in an attempt to gaslight us, and we will not stand for it."

The new guidelines added that students would learn about "the various duties and trades performed by slaves (e.g., agricultural work, painting, carpentry, tailoring, domestic service, blacksmithing, transportation)." High school students who are learning about the 1920 Ococee massacre and other historical attacks against Black people will be taught how “acts of violence [were] perpetrated against and by African Americans," per the new rules.

The move comes amid the state declining to implement a pilot version of an Advanced Placement African American Studies course for high school students, which the education department claimed lacked educational value.

The Florida Education Association, a statewide teachers union, said the standards were “a big step backward for a state that has required teaching African American history since 1994.”

“How can our students ever be equipped for the future if they don’t have a full, honest picture of where we’ve come from? Florida’s students deserve a world-class education that equips them to be successful adults who can help heal our nation’s divisions rather than deepen them,” Andrew Spar, the association’s president, said in a statement. “Gov. DeSantis is pursuing a political agenda guaranteed to set good people against one another, and in the process, he’s cheating our kids. They deserve the full truth of American history, the good and the bad,” Spar added.

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