Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor, an African American Democrat, has sided with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis over DeSantis’ decision to block an African American Studies course, that teaches things like CRT and the 1619 Project.
“I think it’s trash,” Proctor said about the course. “There is grave concern about the tone and the tenor of leadership’s voice from the highest spaces in our state being hostile to teaching of African American history.”
“Well frankly I’m against the College Board’s curriculum. I think it’s trash. It’s not African American history. It is ideology,” Proctor continued. “I’ve taught African American history, I’ve structured syllabuses for African American history. I am African American history. And talking about ‘queer’ and ‘feminism’ and all of that for the struggle for freedom and equality and justice has not been no tension with queerness and feminist thought at all.”
The Florida Department of Education recently informed the organization that the course’s content is “inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value,” adding that the state would reconsider the course should the organization make the material “lawful” and “historically accurate.”
Last year, DeSantis signed legislation preventing the state’s government schools from teaching discrimination based on race, color, or sex.
“They’re advocating things like abolishing prisons,” DeSantis said. “Now that’s a radical political position. … It’s not fair to say that somehow abolishing prisons is linked to black experiences, that that’s what black people want. I think they want law and order, just like anybody else wants law and order. So that is more ideology being used under the guise of history, and we want to do history.”
In responding to claims that DeSantis wants to prevent schools from teaching about slavery and black history, DeSantis informed critics that Florida state law does require the teaching of black history and slavery and stated that “You learn all the basics you learn about the great figures, and you know, I view it as American history. I don’t view it as separate history.”
DeSantis noted that the course that was rejected was “a separate course on top of that for Advanced Placement credit. And the issue is we have guidelines and standards in Florida. We want education, not indoctrination. If you fall on the side of indoctrination, we’re going to decline”, DeSantis said in the press conference.”
According to state law “classroom instruction and curriculum may not be used to indoctrinate or persuade students to a particular point of view inconsistent with the principles enumerated in subsection (3) or the state academic standards.”
Subsection three states that instruction and classroom materials “must be consistent with the following principles of individual freedom” including that “No person is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously, solely by virtue of his or her race or sex,” “No race is inherently superior to another race,” “No person should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, disability, or sex,” and “Meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are not racist but fundamental to the right to pursue happiness and be rewarded for industry.”
The subsection goes on to state that “A person should not be instructed that he or she must feel guilt, anguish, or other forms of psychological distress for actions, in which he or she played no part, committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex.”