NATIONAL NEWS

Black lawmakers press Justice and Education Departments to investigate Florida’s race curriculum

Jul 27, 2023, 3:30 PM

FILE - Congressional Black Caucus chair Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev., center, talks with reporters ...

FILE - Congressional Black Caucus chair Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev., center, talks with reporters following a meeting with President Joe Biden at the White House in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023. Horsford is joined by, from left, Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, and Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Colo. The Congressional Black Caucus is pushing the White House, Justice Department and the Department of Education to adopt an “aggressive legal strategy” to scrutinize recent changes to Florida's Black history curriculum. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Congressional Black Caucus is pushing the White House, Justice Department and the Department of Education to adopt an “aggressive legal strategy” to scrutinize recent changes to Florida’s Black history curriculum.

The caucus wants the federal agencies to examine whether Florida school districts are violating federal discrimination law following changes to the curriculum in the state — from banning books covering racial themes to a recent decision to add language about the positive impacts of slavery.

Caucus Chairman, Nevada Rep. Steven Horsford said at a Thursday press conference he met with Education Secretary Miguel Cardona this week to discuss actions that might be taken. He added that “we have discussed with the White House the need to have a very aggressive legal strategy to want to uphold the law.”

However, lawmakers did not lay out the specifics on how the departments might use use their resources.

The departments have a number of tools. In June, the Madison County, Kentucky school district reached a settlement with Justice to resolve complaints of widespread harassment of Black and multiracial students. Earlier this week, the Education Department launched an investigation of Harvard University’s policies on legacy admissions.

Florida and its governor, GOP presidential candidate Ron DeSantis, have been in the news much of the past year because of steps taken in addressing what DeSantis calls a “woke” agenda and liberal indoctrination in the classroom.DeSantis signed legislation last year directing the Florida Board of Education to set new standards, which resulted in the recent curriculum changes that say enslaved people benefited from skills that they learned.

The governor’s office did immediately respond to a request for comment.

Horsford said Thursday that what is happening in Florida highlights what many caucus members see as an attack on the rights of Black Americans across the country.

He cited a letter from several state attorneys general to the CEOs of the 100 largest U.S. companies cautioning them of the legal consequences for using race as a factor in hiring and employment despite the Supreme Court decision outlawing affirmative action only affecting college admissions.

Several caucus members also cited the action this month by the Alabama state legislature refusing to comply with aSupreme Court ruling that instructed lawmakers to redraw their congressional map and potentially set up two majority Black districts.

“The attacks against black people and blackness are coordinated, well funded, coming from every side and they are about race,” he said “We need to be clear about who we are up against and what we must do to win. There is so much at stake.”

Horsford said the stakes were highlighted this week when President Joe Biden established a national monument honoring slain teen Emmett Till and his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley. “Their story is a reminder of the horrors of our nation’s past,” he said.

Rep. Maxwell Frost, a Democrat from Florida, said in addition to leaning on federal government, there is a grassroots effort underway in Florida to let parents know their rights and how to protect their children and what they are being taught.

“We have 12 or 11 organizers working every day in central Florida,” he said. “It’s a long haul and there’s a lot of work to do. And again, it’s not just about Florida. This is about the entire country.”

National News

President Joe Biden speaks at a news conference Thursday July 11, 2024, on the final day of the NAT...

Associated Press

Biden pushes on ‘blue wall’ sprint with Michigan trip as he continues to make the case for candidacy

WASHINGTON (AP) — Four years ago, candidate Joe Biden stood before supporters at a Detroit high school, flanked by Kamala Harris and other rising Democratic stars, and called himself a bridge to the next generation of leaders. Biden, now a president seeking reelection, returns to the city Friday with many in his party now pleading […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

UN demands Russia immediately return Europe’s biggest nuclear plant to Ukraine

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. General Assembly adopted a resolution Thursday demanding that Russia urgently withdraw its military and personnel from Europe’s largest nuclear power plant and immediately return the facility to Ukraine. The resolution also reiterates the assembly’s demands for Russia to immediately “cease its aggression against Ukraine” and withdraw all troops, and […]

6 hours ago

President Joe Biden, joined by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy, speaks during an event on ...

Associated Press

The NATO summit was about Ukraine and Biden. Here are some key things to know

WASHINGTON (AP) — NATO leaders met this week to celebrate the alliance’s 75th anniversary under the cloud of deep political uncertainty in its most powerful member — the United States. But even as questions swirled about President Joe Biden’s future and the implications of a possible return to the White House by NATO skeptic Donald […]

6 hours ago

FILE - President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign rally in Raleigh, N.C., June. 28, 2024. It's been t...

Associated Press

Two weeks that imperiled Biden’s presidency left him on probation in the court of Democratic opinion

WASHINGTON (AP) — Joe Biden’s tribulations were previewed in Hollywood days before he got on the debate stage. At a fundraiser organized by George Clooney and packed with luminaries including former President Barack Obama, Biden was a listless figure, perhaps merely jet-lagged after flying straight from Italy but clearly not the man they knew. Oh […]

6 hours ago

A drone lands for a battery swap at Rockaway Beach in New York, Thursday, July 11, 2024. A fleet of...

Associated Press

On NYC beaches, angry birds are fighting drones on patrol for sharks and swimmers

NEW YORK (AP) — A fleet of drones patrolling New York City’s beaches for signs of sharks and struggling swimmers is drawing backlash from an aggressive group of seaside residents: local shorebirds. Since the drones began flying in May, flocks of birds have repeatedly swarmed the devices, forcing the police department and other city agencies […]

7 hours ago

Associated Press

Vermonters pummeled by floods exactly 1 year apart begin another cleanup

PLAINFIELD, Vt. (AP) — Owen Bradley has been listening to the roar of the Great Brook outside his historic brick house in Vermont for nearly 40 years. But the sound changed this week as raging waters inched closer, building to a torrent that tore through the back of the building, tearing off the decks. “First […]

7 hours ago

Black lawmakers press Justice and Education Departments to investigate Florida’s race curriculum