Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is inviting Vice President Kamala Harris to return to Florida to discuss the state’s new curriculum for Black history.
Mr. DeSantis, a Republican contender for president, extended the offer to Ms. Harris in a formal letter after the Democrat visited Jacksonville to blast a section of the education standards that says slaves sometimes used skills learned in captivity for “personal benefit” later in life.
“In Florida we are unafraid to have an open and honest dialogue about the issues. And you clearly have no trouble ducking down to Florida on short notice,” Mr. DeSantis wrote Monday. “So given your grave concern (which, I must assume, is sincere) about what you think our standards say, I am officially inviting you back down to Florida to discuss our African American History standards. We will be happy to host you in Tallahassee.”
Ms. Harris has given no indication she will take Mr. DeSantis up on the offer. However, she is scheduled to visit Orlando, Florida, on Tuesday to address the 20th Women’s Missionary Society of the African Methodist Episcopal Church Quadrennial Convention.
Florida’s updated curriculum standards say slaves “developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.”
Last month, Ms. Harris told the Jacksonville crowd the state is trying to “replace history with lies.”
Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida, a Black Republican who supports former President Donald Trump in the 2024 race, has criticized that portion of the 216-page update to the curricula.
Two of Mr. DeSantis’ 2024 rivals, former Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, have also called on Florida to revisit the portion about a “personal benefit.”
Mr. DeSantis has defended the standards as an academic truth that should be taught. He says some in the GOP are echoing White House talking points.
“Our state pushed forward nation-leading standalone African American History standards — one of the only states in the nation to require this level of learning about such an important subject,” Mr. DeSantis wrote to Ms. Harris. “One would think the White House would applaud such boldness in teaching the unique and important story of African American History. But you have instead attempted to score cheap political points and label Florida parents ‘extremists.’ It’s past time to set the record straight.”
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