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Read Florida's Black history teaching standards document to get details on controversial new curriculum

Scott slams Florida Black history curriculum
Tim Scott slams Florida Black history curriculum: "There is no silver lining in slavery" 01:14

The controversial Florida social studies curriculum that includes a lesson on how "slaves developed skills" that could be used for "their personal benefit" is over 200 pages long, with plans for multiple grade levels and topics included. The full document can be viewed online or you can read it at the bottom of this story. 

The lesson in question can be found at the bottom of page 6 of the document, with the code "SS.68.AA.2.3." This means it is a lesson for students in sixth to eighth grade, taught as part of the curriculum's "African American History Strand," or category. 

The lesson asks students to "Examine the various duties and trades performed by slaves," including agricultural work, painting, carpentry, tailoring, domestic service, blacksmithing, and transportation. That is followed by a "benchmark clarification" noting: "Instruction includes how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit." 

Florida Department of Education

Two members of the work group that established the standards said in a statement to CBS News that they "proudly stand behind" the language of the lessons, saying that the curriculum provides "comprehensive and rigorous instruction on African American History." 

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is running for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, sought to distance himself from the curriculum in comments last week.

"I didn't do it. And I wasn't involved in it," he said last Friday, adding, "I think that they're probably going to show — some of the folks that eventually parlayed, you know, being a blacksmith into doing things later in life."

White House criticizes DeSantis over Florida school curriculum changes 04:42

The latest controversy comes after DeSantis rejected a pilot program for an Advanced Placement class in African American studies earlier this year, calling it "indoctrination."

The line about "personal benefit" for enslaved people has drawn criticism from both sides of the political aisle. Vice President Kamala Harris called the lesson plan an attempt to "gaslight" the public, and traveled to Florida for a speech to "forcefully condemn" it.

"How is it that anyone could suggest that amidst these atrocities [of slavery], there was any 'benefit' to being subjected to this level of dehumanization?" Harris said Sunday.

Republican politicians have also spoken out, with South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, another presidential candidate, saying in a recent town hall that slavery had "no silver lining." 

"What slavery was really about [was] separating families, about mutilating humans and even raping their wives," said Scott, who is the Senate's only Black Republican. "It was just devastating. So, I would hope that every person in our country — and certainly running for president — would appreciate that." 

Read the full curriculum below: 

Florida Education Standards by CBS News on Scribd
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