Education Reform

Billy Townsend: Are Florida Teachers Allowed to Teach Mandated State Standards About Racist Violence?

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As blogger Billy Townsend explains, education officials in Florida are either hypocrites or stupid.

In a post that is second in a series, he shows how they campaign against teaching about racism (which they consider “indoctrination”) yet state standards require teachers to teach about the infamous 1920 Ocoee race massacre. Is it possible to avoid teaching about racism and white supremacy while teaching a mandated lesson about racism and white supremacy?

Townsend describes the teacher’s dilemma. He or she might satisfy Governor DeSantis by assuring him that the teacher is definitely not teaching “critical race theory,” because he or she never heard of it before.

Just the facts:

Dear class, today we are going to discuss the Ocoee pogrom, which killed or expelled virtually the entire black population of this little town near Orlando because that black population attempted to vote on the presidential Election Day of 1920.

Here’s the outcome of the Ocoee pogrom demographically:

Ocoee’s purged black population culminated the destruction of a 1920 statewide civil rights/voting registration drive led by black women like Mary McLeod Bethune during the first presidential election of women’s suffrage. Mary McLeod Bethune is about to represent woke Florida in statuary hall in Congress. But in 1920, white people and power crushed her ambition for representative government and legitimate political power with systematic killing and destruction. They did this explicitly to maintain “white supremacy” against black participation in the democratic process and the 1920 presidential election. That’s literally the reason white people gave for doing it — that exact phrase, “white supremacy.” …..

Townsend continues:

I need to quote and address the Chris Latvala Corollary to all these rules: “There is a way to teach it without indoctrinating kids about how bad white people are.” That’s the position of state Rep. Chris Latvala, chairman of the House Education & Employment Committee, on history.

I am not sure what “it” is; so let me just say: White people are awesome. We have always been awesome. Without us, you would not have skinny jeans or emo music or square dancing or hipsters — or so I understand from popular American history. So as you listen to this, remember: it doesn’t mean white people are not awesome. We are. Always have been. OK. Got it?

Even with all that disclaiming, I’m not sure if the Florida powers-that-be will fire me for not teaching Ocoee or for teaching it. Such is the life of an educator in America’s worst designed, worst led, most corrupt, most incoherent, and most stupidly performative state education system.

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