Florida Board of Education approves new African American history standards despite opposition

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — There are new standards in place for African American history studies in Florida schools.

The State Board of Education held a meeting in Orlando on Wednesday to discuss the K-through-12 curriculum. The members votes put the board’s rules in line with a state law passed last year.


“This provides Florida students a robust knowledge of African American history,” Education Commissioner Manny Diaz said.

But many people are taking issue with the standards for the curriculum.

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It was standing room only as teachers and parents from across the state filled the boardroom demanding members vote down the proposal saying the new standards muzzle speech about race and omit parts of the country’s history.

Despite nearly two hours of public comment, the board moved to approve the new guidelines.

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The new standards outline what can be taught about slavery, segregation, and oppression.

“This allows students to formulate their own opinion,” Diaz said.

But Stephana Ferrell, a parent of two Orange County elementary students, said she’s worried her kids won’t be taught parts of history not outlined in the standards.

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“I’m concerned they’re not going to be prepared for the real world,” Ferrell said.

Those same concerns were echoed in a letter addressed to the chairman from a coalition of 11 groups including the NAACP and the Florida Education Association.

Genesis Robinson, with Equal Ground, said the new standards only give students half the story of Black history.

Commissioner Manny Diaz And chair Ben Gibson repeatedly stated they weren’t removing standards, but rather adding to the standards.

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Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.