Vice President to visit Jacksonville, speak against Florida’s education changes
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Vice President Kamala Harris will speak in Jacksonville on Friday in response to controversial changes approved this week by the Florida Board of Education.
She said she wants to talk about the freedom to learn.
Harris will speak around 3:45 p.m. at the Ritz Theatre and Museum in the LaVilla area, which is rich in Jacksonville’s Black history. The neighborhood became a part of Jacksonville in 1887 and was known as the “Harlem of the South.”
The Ritz stores and presents material, art and history of African American life in this part of Northeast Florida.
The standards approved Wednesday by the Florida BOE would teach middle school students that some Black people benefited from slavery as the lesson plan says slavery provided them with useful skills.
“We’re fighting back against attempts to gaslight us, cover up our history, and rewrite the horrors of slavery,” Harris said in a Tweet. “POTUS and I will always stand up or fundamental freedoms, including the freedom to learn and teach America’s full history.”
According to the new education guidelines, middle school teachers must now teach students about “the various duties and trades performed by slaves” that includes a note that teachers should also instruct that enslaved people developed skills in some instances for their personal benefit.
At the high school level, teachers would instruct high schoolers about “acts of violence perpetuated against and by African Americans.”
Harris was in Indianapolis yesterday, speaking at the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated’s National Convention.
That is the second oldest historically Black sorority in America.
Harris is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, which is the oldest.
“Being clear-eyed about the moment we are in and the challenges we face. We can see right now in our country so many of our hard-won freedoms are under full-on attack,” Harris said.
Extremists are pushing forward revisionist history. They insult us in an attempt to gaslight us, and we will not stand for it. pic.twitter.com/ipCXuGjWTw
The Florida Education Association, the state’s largest teachers’ union, calls the standards “a step backward.”
It released a statement saying:
“How can our students ever be equipped for the future if they don’t have a full, honest picture of where we’ve come from? They deserve the full truth of American history, the good and the bad.”
The approval of the new standards comes after Gov. Ron DeSantis rejected a new Advanced Placement course on African American history in January, saying it “lacks educational value and is contrary to Florida law.”
The governor also backed the “Stop WOKE Act,” which prohibited teaching certain concepts related to race.
Harris is set to arrive at Jacksonville International Airport a little before 2:30 p.m. before making her way her to LaVilla. News4Jax will have crews at the airport and at the Ritz Theatre and Museum to cover Harris’ arrival and her speech, which will be streamed live on News4JAX.com and News4JAX+.