After a controversy this year about African American history standards in public schools, a Senate Democrat has filed a proposal that would prevent instruction asserting that enslaved people benefited from slavery in any way.
Sen. Shevrin Jones, D-Miami Gardens, filed the bill (SB 344) for consideration during the 2024 legislative session, which will start in January.
“The instruction required under this paragraph (of law) and state academic standards may not indicate or imply that an enslaved person benefited from slavery or the enslavement experience in any way,” the proposal says.
The bill was filed in response to a controversial part of African American history standards approved by the State Board of Education in July.
The standards drew widespread criticism largely because of a provision that requires middle-school instruction to include “how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.”
State education officials, including Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr., have vehemently defended the standards.
Diaz said during the July board meeting that the guidelines “go into some of the tougher subjects, all the way into the beginnings of the slave trade, Jim Crow laws, the civil-rights movement and everything that occurred throughout our history.”