Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis has expressed his wish to meet Vice President Kamala Harris to discuss the state’s recently updated African American history education standards, which Harris has criticized as “propaganda.”
DeSantis reached out to Harris with a letter, suggesting a meeting as early as the upcoming Wednesday. However, he added a jab at Harris’ role in handling the border crisis, saying that DeSantis wanted to respect the Vice President’s busy schedule just in case she might be making a trip to the southern border that might conflict with the meeting.
“DeSantis requested that Harris let him know as soon as possible if she could make the meeting. He continued stating what an example we could set for the nation — a serious and forthright conversation on this significant national issue.
Harris has previously criticized a specific aspect of Florida’s history education standards, particularly a line that suggests teachers incorporate lessons on how “slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their benefit.” Opponents argue that it is incorrect to imply that enslaved people could have benefited from bondage, while supporters claim the statement emphasizes the acquisition of skills despite their enslavement.
DeSantis accused the Biden administration of misrepresenting Florida’s education system and disparaging the state in his letter. He praised Florida for pioneering African American history standards, writing, Florida pushed forward nation-leading stand-alone African American history standards — one of the only states in the nation to require this level of learning about such an important subject.
Florida educators think the White House should applaud Florida for teaching the critical, unique history of African America. But instead, the Vice President tried to score political points and call Florida parents ‘extremists.
The governor also emphasized that he is open to honest dialogue. He invited Harris to Tallahassee to meet with William Allen, a former U.S. Commission on Civil Rights member who worked on the curriculum.
Harris was scheduled to be in Orlando, Florida, on Tuesday to address the 20th Quadrennial Convention of an African American Women’s Missionary Society. Previously, she was in Jacksonville, where she sharply criticized the Black history standards as an “attempt to gaslight us,” according to the Washington Examiner.