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DeSantis Fires Back at Kamala Harris Over Florida’s African American History Curriculum

“We’re committed to teaching truth, not partisan narratives,” the governor wrote in a letter to the VP. DeSantis also invited Harris to come to Tallahassee for a public discussion on the issue.

TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — Governor Ron DeSantis ripped Vice President Kamala Harris on Tuesday, pushing back on her recent criticism of Florida’s educational standards regarding the history of slavery in the United States.

“Florida is the number one state in the nation for education. … We’re committed to teaching truth, not partisan narratives,” DeSantis wrote, pointing to recent state policies banning “hateful Marxists theories” behind Diversity, Equity and Inclusion practices and Critical Race Theory.

“We have, instead, focused on the basics of reading, writing, arithmetic, science, civics and history.”


Florida once again found itself in the national spotlight last week after the state released new educational standards for African American history. Critics latched onto one sentence stating that some black Americans benefited from “skills” they obtained as slaves.

Harris and others argued that this statement implied a net benefit of slavery.

“Middle school students in Florida will be told that enslaved people benefited from slavery,” the vice president said at a speech in Jacksonville on July 21.

READ MORE: Florida Black History Academic Rejects “Categorically False Claims” About Education Standards

The governor accused Harris of trying to “score cheap political points” and suggested she is unwilling to engage in a good-faith discussion on the subject.

“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,” DeSantis wrote on 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.”


In recent years, the DeSantis administration has made headlines on numerous occasions for its willingness to defy politically correct educational standards – including opposition to many popular Left-wing dogmas concerning sex, gender and race.

The letter indicates DeSantis' campaign views the negative media attention as another opportunity to win over more conservative and moderate voters. The governor frequently touts his willingness to go to war with “woke” ideology, never backing down from anyone on the Left. Fittingly, the super PAC driving DeSantis’ 2024 campaign for President is called “Never Back Down.”

The formula has worked in the past. DeSantis’ high-profile fights are often started by his opponents – such as Disney’s opposition to the Parental Rights in Education Act and the mainstream media response to the state lifting COVID restrictions in 2020 – but ultimately prove to generate more support for the governor.

Harris’ opposition to Florida’s new standards may also have been part of a larger political strategy to garner favor with 2024 voters.

“Harris has been quietly noting how other Democrats, including her friend and sometimes rival for attention California Gov. Gavin Newsom, have grabbed the national spotlight by swinging at Republicans aggressively,” a CNN report noted on Sunday. “Aides say she has also been watching the news out of the Republican presidential race and telling Biden aides she wants to be seen as fighting against extremism.”