By Aria Brent,
AFRO Staff Writer,
Parents, students and educators are appalled at Florida’s new education standard regarding the teaching of Black history in public schools. In the updated standard, it noted that middle school lessons must include “how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.” The new curriculum comes after Florida’s House Bill (HB) 7 which was passed last year and prevents students from learning lessons that imply anyone is privileged or oppressed based on their race or skin color.
Many Black families are concerned about their students receiving an education that is honest and accurate.
“Seeing what’s going on in public schools nowadays helped us to make the decision that the public school setting was not going to give us the best experience for our child,” said Obafemi Kinsiedilele.
Obafemi Kinsiedilele and his wife, Kwaeisi, are the founders of Blknproud Homeschoolin’ Village. The two have been homeschooling their children for five years. They recognized the need for community amongst fellow Black homeschoolers and created the company to help with this matter.
“We both are students of education and early childhood development. We are both into our history and culture and we have an understanding that the public schools are only going to go so far with telling our story,” said Obafemi Kinsiedilele.
As Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ ongoing fight against “wokeness” has been catching national attention with many who agree with his stance, Black homeschoolers are sure that the controversial Florida standard will be duplicated.
“We’re going to have to educate our own people in order to change our trajectory, we’re going to have to do this.” Kwaeisi Kinsiedilele said. “Before they ever step their foot inside of the school you’re the one who is teaching them.”
Jania Otey has also been homeschooling her own children. Since 2007 she has been on a homeschooling journey. These days, she works to expand the cultural horizons of children through her program, Kids and Culture, which was founded in 2010. The program focuses on exposing and educating children about different cultures from around the world.
“Florida was just the beginning. I believe we’re gonna see similar things popping up in other states, and we have to get ready. We need to be ready to ‘home educate’ our children,” said Otey.
Noting that the new Florida guidelines only reaffirm her decision to homeschool, Otey explained that she chose to homeschool her children so that she could assure she taught them the truth about their history and culture.
“The guidelines set forth by Florida regarding Black history reaffirmed the importance of parents having control over their child’s education and teaching them the entire truth,” said Otey. “One thing that’s very concerning to me about this is that, as we continue on, individuals will want to rewrite the narrative. They’ll want to rewrite history.”
With limitations and lies beginning to affect the way Black history is being taught, many homeschoolers believe there’s going to be an increase in the amount of Black families that decide to homeschool their children.
“I think that it may increase the number of particularly families of color, who decide to homeschool their children. Parents in Florida should take a careful look at what’s being done and research their options for homeschooling,” said Otey.
The new education standards have received a lot of backlash including comments from Vice President Kamala Harris.
“They insult us in an attempt to gaslight us. And we will not have it,” said Harris during her rally in Jacksonville, Fla., on July 21.
“I want them to know that what they’re passing, it’s very insensitive and it’s not very considerate of the different voices that are important,” said Kwaeisi Kinsiedilele, speaking on the Florida guidelines. ”It’s minimizing hundreds and hundreds of years of rich information and history that would benefit the Black community there.”
CORRECTION: Jania Otey is the owner of Kids and Culture. Her last name was initially misspelled as Otney.