Congressman Byron Donalds reacts to new Florida Black history standards

Reporter: Claire Galt Writer: Matias Abril
Published: Updated:

The new standards for African American history in Florida public schools has been given attention from almost everyone, regardless of which side of the aisle they sit on.

The new standard says that middle schoolers must learn “how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.”

Congressmen Byron Donalds talked to WINK News about the new standards.

He is among the more prominent African-American Republicans in the nation, and he has a problem with part of Florida’s new African-American history curriculum.

“Slavery was terrible in our country,” Donalds said. “It was terrible for for Black people coming to America, and it was just flat out wrong, no doubt about that.”

What is also wrong, according to Donalds, are the critics who are lining up to use the curriculum to score political points, and he said that, yes, the new section needs some adjustments.

Vice President Kamala Harris came to Florida to blast the section that says “how slaves developed skills which in some instances could be applied for their personal benefit.”

“To me, yes, that section needs some adjustments. The talking point narrative around it, yeah, it sounds awful,” Donalds said. “Like nobody should be accepting of that, but when you read through the standards, they actually did a very good job in covering all aspects of Black history in the United States.”

Donalds called the new African-American history standards good, robust, accurate, just that the messaging of that one section is wrong and can be fixed.

“I think the best way to accomplish it, at this point, is working with the State Board of Education to bring refinement to that topic,” Donalds said.

And even if the section stays in the standards, Donalds said that he has faith that no one will leave the classroom thinking slavery was in any way beneficial.

“I have no doubt about that, because at the end of the day, if you read what is in there now it’s crystal clear to me that slavery was one of the darkest stains on our country, no doubt. There’s no way to get around that.”

Donalds told WINK News that he himself will have a conversation with people at the State Board of Education in hopes of getting them to fix the section that says “how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.”

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