Mia McCarthy and Gary Fineout, Politico, July 26, 2023
The only Black Republican member of Florida’s congressional delegation tussled online with the DeSantis administration Wednesday over newly adopted teaching standard that requires middle schoolers learn that some African Americans benefited from slavery.
Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.), a sophomore Republican and former state representative who endorsed former President Donald Trump for president, posted on social media early Wednesday morning that “the attempt to feature the personal benefits of slavery is wrong & needs to be adjusted.”
Later Wednesday, Florida Department of Education Commissioner Manny Diaz, Jr., said the state will not change the teaching standards “at the behest of a woke @WhiteHouse, nor at the behest of a supposedly conservative congressman.”
Gov. Ron DeSantis’ spokesperson Jeremy Redfern also attacked Donalds, posting on social media that “supposed conservatives in the federal government are pushing the same false narrative that originated from the @WhiteHouse.”
“Maybe the congressman shouldn’t swing for the liberal media fences like @VP,” Redfern posted.
Florida’s new teaching standards faced a huge backlash since approved last week, with Democrats and civil rights leaders condemning the state and the DeSantis administration. Vice President Kamala Harris last week visited Jacksonville to castigate Florida’s education officials while civil rights leaders hinted this week that they may sue the state.
The Florida Department of Education adopted new teaching standard for middle schoolers to learn that “slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.” The standard will be in a new Black history curriculum for Florida students.