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Black history standards; beach access; housing kids in nursing homes 

Wooden classroom desks
iStockphoto.com
Wooden classroom desks.

The Florida Board of Education last week approved a new set of social studies standards for how Black history should be taught in public schools.

These guidelines sparked sharp criticism in the following days from a broad range of voices — from educators and parents to state lawmakers and community leaders throughout the state.

Much of the backlash centers around instruction for teaching middle school students about the slave trade. This section asks teachers to discuss the various jobs that enslaved people were forced to do and include instruction on how enslaved people “developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.”

Historians who have studied slavery and African American history question this lesson’s educational value and point to evidence that Africans had those skills before they were enslaved.

Despite the pushback, the Board of Education is standing behind the new standards and will work to implement them swiftly.

Guests:

  • Wilkine Brutus, Palm Beach County reporter for WLRN. 
  • Danielle Prieur, reporter at WMFE.

Beach access  

Florida’s beaches are by definition open to the public, according to the state Constitution. But that doesn’t always mean that you can plop your towel on just any piece of sand.

After a controversial state law was passed in 2018, private property owners are increasingly posting No Trespassing signs and calling the police when they say beachgoers are illegally entering their property.

This has led to years of legal battles in some parts of the Florida Panhandle, as residents say they are being cut off from a public resource. And it’s not just in the Panhandle — residents of Sarasota and other parts of the state have faced the same issues.

Guests:

Housing kids in nursing homes

A federal judge has ordered the state of Florida to change the way it gives health care to children with severe disabilities. That’s after the federal government has for more than a decade challenged the state’s practice of placing children with disabilities in restrictive institutions — like nursing homes.

The state says that this is an intrusion into state affairs by the federal government and that the order will be impossible to comply with.

It’s a complex and troubling story of how Medicaid is handled in Florida, federal law about health care standards and even the ongoing nursing shortage.

Guest:

  • Carol Marbin Miller, deputy investigations editor for the Miami Herald. 
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Bridget O’Brien is an award-winning, versatile audio producer with more than eight years of experience in radio, audience engagement and storytelling across a diverse range of outlets. You can reach Bridget at bobrien@wjct.org.