by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
An African American Studies course defended by Democrats teaches the same historical item Vice President Kamala Harris and others excoriated Florida governor Ron DeSantis (R.) for allowing in his state’s curriculum.
The vice president took a trip to Florida last week to say the state’s new social studies standards “replace history with lies.” She slammed the curriculum for including a line stating, “Slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.” But the AP African American Studies course framework designed by the College Board, which many Democrats including Harris defended in the face of scrutiny from DeSantis, includes a similar line.
“In addition to agricultural work, enslaved people learned specialized trades and worked as painters, carpenters, tailors, musicians, and healers in the North and South,” the AP course framework reads. “Once free, African Americans used these skills to provide for themselves and others.”
Progressives had criticized DeSantis for blocking the AP course from being taught in Florida until changes were made. DeSantis successfully pushed the College Board to remove content about critical race theory and LGBTQ+ topics from the course and make discussions on slavery reparations and Black Lives Matter optional.
The College Board said in June it will not make any further changes demanded by Florida, leaving the course’s future in the state uncertain. Florida already requires that schools teach African-American history.
Harris in January criticized DeSantis’s refusal to teach the course in Florida schools without changes, saying “anyone who bans teaching American history has no right to shape America’s future.” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called the move “incomprehensible.”
The Congressional Black Caucus is pressing the Biden administration to create an “aggressive legal strategy” to examine Florida’s new standards.