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Miami-Dade Public School Board to "advocate for advancing education, not restrict learning"

Miami-Dade Public School Board to "advocate for advancing education, not restrict learning"
Miami-Dade Public School Board to "advocate for advancing education, not restrict learning" 02:27

MIAMI - People critical of new Florida Black history education standards pushed Miami-Dade Public School Board members for action.

"There's so many alarming developments to address I wasn't sure where to start," Natasha Esteves, a former MDCPS student said during Wednesday night's school board meeting.

"I have a major issue with what's going on about not teaching history properly," Stephanie Roach, who has five grandchildren in public school.

Hours before MDCPS students returned to class, board members said they would not "sit silently" over concerns with new state standards.

"You must know that we're not sitting here knowing that we don't have power," Dr. Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall, a MDCPS board member said during the meeting. 

"We have it and we will use it."

Dr. Bendross-Mindingall, a former state representative told CBS News Miami she was not afraid and explained how she planned to act.

"I've started my writing and my research and I will be speaking with our general counsel because we will obey the law," Dr. Bendross-Mindingall said.

Protesters chanted and marched from Overtown to district offices downtown. 

They voiced anger with guidelines for educators to teach "how slaves developed skills which in some instances could be applied for their personal benefit."

"I think it's a regression," Dr. Marvin Dunn, a historian said. 

"I feel like it's 1964 all over again. That's why we're out here to have this march."

Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz, Jr. skipped a town hall meeting in Miami Gardens last week. 

Critics there planned to question him.

Others pressed MDCPS board members Wednesday night.

"I have a black grandchild and I have a white grandchild," Roach said during the meeting. "I have a Christian one and I have a Jewish one.  We need to be teaching the truth about everything."

"You might think this is above and beyond you since (the standards) came from Tallahassee," Esteves said during the meeting.  

"But you are the leaders of the third largest school district in the entire country and the largest in our state.  You do have power."

Later during public comments, Esteves said, "(The standards are) an attempt to minimize the harsh realities and consequences of US slavery."  She said it hurts more than black Americans.

"It's a slap in the face of students because it's operating on the assumption that young people can't face these difficult truths," Esteves added.

Dr. Steve Gallon, III thanked those who voiced concern to the board.

"Many of you who spoke confirmed, clarified, and certified some of the notions that I stated last week," he said during the meeting.  "It's not about blacks.  It's not about whites.  It's not about Hispanics.  It's about good people.  It's about honest people."

Board member Lucia Baez-Geller said the board will advocate for advancing education and not restrict learning or freedoms.

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