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Earlier this week, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris rebuked Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) over his state’s social studies curriculum for 2023. Biden and Harris accused DeSantis of whitewashing and rewriting the United States’ history of slavery.
Florida’s state Department of Education released its social studies curriculum for K-12 students last week. The curriculum was developed by a commission of scholars and academics from various institutions across the U.S.
Critics, led by Biden and Harris, have seized on one sentence from the 216-page outline that clarifies how freed slaves used skills learned and developed in slavery to help themselves later in their lives: “Instruction includes how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.”
The College Board included a similar goal in its course framework for AP African American Studies for 2023-2024. The curriculum identifies as “essential knowledge”: “In addition to agricultural work, enslaved people learned specialized trades and worked as painters, carpenters, tailors, musicians, and healers in the North and South. Once free, American Americans used these skills to provide for themselves and others.”
The College Board’s AP college prep classes are available in thousands of schools across the U.S.
DeSantis press secretary Jeremy Redfern pointed out the similarity in the two frameworks on Wednesday evening. DeSantis had previously rejected the College Board’s curriculum over its “woke” components, such as Critical Race Theory. The College Board has pushed back against DeSantis’ attacks.
“Remember when Florida wouldn’t allow that AP African American Studies course because it focused too much on CRT and not enough on history, and the [White House] lost its mind? Well, here is one of the standards considered ‘essential knowledge,’” Redfern posted on social media alongside a picture of the above passage in the AP curriculum.
Remember when Florida wouldn’t allow that AP African American Studies course because it focused too much on CRT and not enough on history, and the @WhiteHouse lost its mind?
Well, here is one of the standards considered “essential knowledge.”
— Jeremy Redfern (@JeremyRedfernFL) July 27, 2023
Biden appeared to go after Florida’s standards on Tuesday in remarks during a White House event announcing a new national monument named after Emmett Till, a black teenager who was beaten and murdered in 1955. The president did not mention DeSantis by name, but Biden’s line of attack echoed criticisms previously voiced by Harris.
“We can’t just choose to learn what we want to know. We have to learn what we should know — we should know — about our country. We should know everything — the good, the bad, the truth of who we are as a nation,” Biden said.
Harris went directly at the governor last week, claiming that Florida was implementing book bans and gaslighting black Americans over the history of slavery.
“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. And while they do this, check it out, they push forward revisionist history,” Harris said. “Just yesterday in the state of Florida, they decided middle school students will be taught that enslaved people benefited from slavery. They insult us in an attempt to gaslight us, and we will not stand for it.”
The White House nor the College Board responded to a request for comment from The Daily Wire.