Statement on Florida Board of Education’s Racist New Standards

Students have the right to learn the true history of their country. Schools have the responsibility to teach the truth. But Florida’s legislature continues to deny students that right with its latest attack on history, on teachers, and on students, particularly BIPOC students.  

Florida’s new standards for the teaching of Black history require that students be taught that slavery was in some ways a benefit to enslaved people, and to say that some of our country’’s most infamous acts of violence against Black people also included violence by Black people. It reflects an outright refusal to reckon properly with the history of the United States. It denies young people true, factual information about historical events and instead requires the teaching of non-factual propaganda. It requires teaching Black children that the enslavement of their ancestors was on some level a positive.

Grappling with historical truths is challenging – as it should be. Students have the right to learn historical facts, and to develop the critical thinking skills necessary to consider how historical racism continues to play out in our country. 

Politicians in Florida, Texas, and other states have rolled out hundreds of similar bills this year, banning books, and banning honest teaching of history, literature, and biology. These politicians mandate that a white supremacist perspective be the only one available to students. They are the same forces working to criminalize abortion, erase LGBTQ students, and drive transgender people into hiding.  The danger to young BIPOC and queer people and young women cannot be overstated. We must commit to working alongside young people to stop the spread of fascism.