Finally, we’re starting to see some resistance to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ notoriously cynical “Stop Wake Up” campaign.
Appropriately, some impetus came from a prominent black historian in Florida, Marvin Dunn, 82, a retired naval officer, professor emeritus at Florida International University, and author of Florida History: Through the Eyes of Negroes.
“Listen,” the professor told MSNBC’s Joy Reed. “If there’s such a thing as an awakened mob in Florida, I aspire to lead it.”
Right now, I say. Dunn is one of eight plaintiffs who are challenging the state’s new and controversial Stop WOKE (Wrong on Our Children and Employees) Act, along with the governor’s other efforts to create a The system that teaches race doesn’t like it.
The DeSantis administration made its latest headline-grabbing move earlier this month when the Florida Department of Education rejected an advanced African American studies course offered by the College Board.
The College Board has been developing the curriculum for more than a decade and is currently piloting it at 60 schools across the U.S., with plans to make it available to all schools in the 2024-2025 school year. High school students may choose to take AP courses for college credit or entry into higher level college courses.
While it was unclear whether any schools in Florida were included in the pilot program, the state judged the curriculum “inexplicably in violation of Florida law and manifestly lacks educational value.”
The White House called the decision “incomprehensible.”
So, it seems, is much of DeSantis’ reasoning. His anti-Awakening campaign appears to be paying off, however, as he made an apparent effort to sound more Trumpian than Donald Trump in his bid to win the White House.
Republican Glenn Youngkin, among other conservatives, is running ahead in the 2021 Virginia gubernatorial race after vigorously opposing “critical race theory,” a line of study not taught in public schools Protesters weaponize the term to attack any lessons about race, gender, and the identity of liberal “indoctrination” they don’t like.
Educators quite reasonably argue that removing such material is tantamount to whitewashing, sometimes punning, and hiding difficult truths from students instead of discussing them — which is the way the educational process should work.
Speaking of educators, I can’t help but wonder what Carter G. Woodson would think of DeSantis’ efforts.
As you know—or, as my teacher grandmother put it, “You should know”—Woodson founded Black History Week in 1926, a precursor to Black History Month.
Woodson, a well-educated educator with degrees from Berea College, Harvard, and the University of Chicago, observed with chagrin that African-American contributions “were overlooked by the authors of history textbooks and the teachers who used them , ignored, and even suppressed”.
Woodson, he said, wanted a history that would ensure that “the world sees black people as participants rather than as lay figures in history.”
The Sunshine State’s Department of Education says the African American studies course “inexplicably violates Florida law and manifestly lacks educational value.” Now, educators and lawmakers plan to testify at Capitol Hill in Tallahassee next month Building protests.
“When you demean my history and say it lacks educational value, you demean us,” RB Holmes Jr., pastor of Tallahassee Bethel Mission Baptist Church, told reporters. “It could be a messaging issue, maybe they didn’t mean it that way. It’s got national attention.”
Yes, it does, but usually for the wrong reasons and in the wrong ways. As Kathi Griffin, president of the Illinois State Education Association, said after polling on CRT last year, “I think one of the first things we have to ask those parents and politicians is, ‘What do they think CRT is?'”
In fact, polls included in their annual report last year found overwhelming support for teaching high school students about slavery and its effects, with 73 percent supporting teaching them about the effects of racism. But they were split on whether to support a law banning “critical race theory.”
They don’t have to worry about CRT because it’s not taught in public schools. But in today’s politically overheated world, how many people take the time to learn the difference?