Friday, September 29, 2023
HomeGlobalNew Florida education program asks teachers to highlight 'benefits of slavery'

New Florida education program asks teachers to highlight ‘benefits of slavery’

Leaders of a forum on the new Florida standards for teaching the history of African-American people parents were encouraged to express their discontentshowing up at local school board meetings, submitting comments to the state Department of Education, and voting.

Hundreds of legislators, teachers and parents gathered at Antioch Baptist Church in Miami Gardens Thursday night to discuss the new policywhich has come under fire for requiring teachers to instruct high school students that enslaved people “developed skills that, in some cases, could be applied for personal benefit.”

But Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz, the person responsible for overseeing the new rules, did not show up.

Diaz, a former area high school teacher in Miami-Dade County, had previously agreed to attend, according to organizers. His participation was announced in flyers advertising the event, which was sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Shevrin Jones. She even set up a chair for him with a sign with her name on it.

The official, who was appointed commissioner last year by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, said on social media that there was “nothing sudden” about his inability to attend the town hall meeting. He claimed that he told Jones last week that he would visit schools to welcome teachers and students. Thursday was the first day of school in many parts of Florida.

But Fedrick Ingram, the secretary-treasurer of the American Federation of Teachers, lashed out at Diaz.

“First, let me talk about the elephant in the room,” Ingram told the cheering crowd. “Manny Diaz is a coward. Ron DeSantis knew this was happening. Manny Diaz knew this was happening and they both know how important it is to the African American community. They know they should have been here tonight to face them.”

Anthony Durden, a local activist and minister of Miami Gardens, qualified the new standards of disrespectful and insensitive. He said the only way forward was with “honest dialogue,” but that students were being deprived of that.

“To say that blacks benefited from slavery is crazy,” Durden said.

Recent posts