FEA criticizes Florida for keeping a history standard touting the benefits of slavery

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Shackles and padlock used during slavery by BlackAperture via iStock for WMNF News

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The leader of the Florida Education Association teachers union on Wednesday criticized the State Board of Education for not reversing course on a controversial history standard approved last year.

The board, meeting in Miami, signed off on some changes to social studies standards for public schools. But the changes did not revise a sixth-grade African American history standard that drew backlash because of a slavery-related issue when it was approved last summer.

The backlash centered on a standard that says, “Instruction includes how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.”

FEA President Andrew Spar on Wednesday criticized the standard remaining part of the larger instructional guidelines.

“That is a concern, as well as making sure that our students have a complete and honest history around both the African American experience and all experiences in our country,” Spar said.

He urged members of the board to talk with teachers across the state about the standards.

Board Vice Chair Ryan Petty argued that rules and standards approved by the board are crafted with input from educators.

“The notion that we’re not out engaged with educators and engaged with teachers in developing these rules is a false notion,” Petty said.

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