Manny Diaz Jr. to attend Democratic Senators’ town hall on new African American history standards

The public will be able to ask questions and air concerns with the state’s Education Commissioner.

The public will have a chance to speak directly with Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. about the controversial new African American history standards approved by the state Board of Education last week.

Diaz is slated to attend a Thursday town hall in Miami Gardens co-hosted by Sen. Shevrin Jones, Sen. Rosalind Osgood and Miami-Dade School Board Vice Chair Dr. Steve Gallon III. The event will be held at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, starting at 7 p.m.

“With back-to-school right around the corner, the state’s politically motivated changes to African-American history curriculum standards have understandably led to widespread concern about its impacts on our students. We are pleased that Commissioner Diaz has agreed to join us for what we expect will be a constructive evening,” said Jones, the Vice Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education and a former classroom teacher.

The event comes nearly a week after the new curriculum sparked a firestorm of controversy for “whitewashing” slavery. Diaz put out a statement to the state’s Superintendents calling the criticism from Vice President Kamala Harris on down a misrepresentation of “groundbreaking work” and directed the district to move ahead in implementing these new standards.

“I couldn’t be happier with the results,’ he said of the new standard were formulated in consultation with “an august group of African American scholars and Florida educators utilizing a rigorous process.”

The standards have students learning about key events in figures in African American history, but another benchmark calls for “instruction (that) includes how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.”

That line has drawn rebukes from prominent voices across the country, including President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, the latter of whom excoriated the curriculum and those who approved it during a Friday appearance in Jacksonville.

Diaz maintains the criticism is overblown. “If anyone takes the time to actually look at the standards, you can see that everything is covered,” he said last week.

Gallon is not convinced.

“These changes include language deemed offensive and in several instances determined to be factually inaccurate,” he said. “They have caused widespread concern, confusion, and educational chaos amongst parents, community members, educators, and students in our community, and quite frankly, throughout the state and nation.”

Osgood, a former Broward School Board member who sits on the Senate Pre K-12 Committee, added, “Our collective history is American History, and although our lived experiences are different, it is important that we value each other’s history. That is the only way we can ensure every Florida student can reach their fullest potential. This moment is an opportunity for community members to ask questions and express their thoughts regarding these standards changes.”

Those who wish to attend the townhall can RSVP online.

Staff Reports


  • Ocean Joe

    July 26, 2023 at 7:14 pm

    Put on your fireproof underwear Mr. Diaz.
    Glad you are willing to face the music, our governor is now claiming he had nothing to do with it.
    It’s an outrageous insult to Black Americans.

    Again I ask, should we tell school kids there’s anything good about Fidel Castro?
    I don’t think you guys get it, or you just don’t care.

    • Julia

      July 26, 2023 at 7:48 pm

      Yes we should tell our students there were things good about Fidel Castro, because there were.

      • My Take

        July 26, 2023 at 8:55 pm

        Today is Cuba’s national holiday.
        Castro and guerrillas attacked the Moncada (sp?) barracks. 1953 I believe. 70 years a GG o.

      • Dont Say FLA

        July 30, 2023 at 8:02 pm

        Fidel Castro taught all Cubans how to repair 1950s automobiles using nothing but tin cans and rubber bands that washed up on the beach.

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704