Resignation Of Top Figure On Ron DeSantis’s Team Demanded By Top Democrat

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Florida state Rep. Fentrice Driskell (D), currently serving as minority leader in the Florida state House, is calling for the resignation of Manny Diaz, Jr. from his current position as Commissioner at the Florida Department of Education. Driskell was reacting to outrage over the newly formulated educational standards for the state that direct the teaching to middle school students of purported personal benefits seen by some who experienced slavery.

Multiple experts behind the updated language around the characterization of this period of American history in Florida schools cited purported examples who were never actually slaves. Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis claimed he wasn’t directly involved in the development of the new educational standards but fervently defended the claims about slaves substantively developing skills they could use and did use for their benefit anyway.

“Our children must have an accurate portrayal of history if they are ever going to have a meaningful education, and that process necessarily starts with the resignation of Manny Diaz and the appointment of a new Commissioner who will not fail our children as he has done,” Driskell said in prepared remarks. She also connected these new standards of education to the DeSantis administration’s other perceived affronts against marginalized communities in Florida. DeSantis has even signed a bathroom bill, restricting the restrooms that transgender individuals can use in certain public settings. And the outrage over the now nearly comprehensive restrictions on classroom discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity has been well-documented.

The gaps in defenses for the standards from those around the governor are glaring. Cited among those who purportedly developed personally usable skills in slavery was Booker T. Washington, a famous educator who was born into slavery… and freed before he was ten years old. Henry Blair, the second Black person to be granted a U.S. patent, was also cited by the Florida team, but there is no evidence indicating that Blair was ever enslaved, per a variety of sources.