Billy Townsend: The DeSantis/Corcoran DoE just gave a get-out-of-jail free card for teaching real history.
Yesterday afternoon, Florida became the latest state to ban teaching critical race theory, the 1619 project, and stuff about race that bothers some white folks. But they did it in such a Florida way that they may have opened a door rather than closing it. Billy Townsend earlier pointed out the built-in contradictions of the “performative fake-banning” and offered some sample disclaimers for teachers to use in class, and a reporter picked it up:
Jeff took those bizarre contradictions seriously; and he asked DoE directly about how teaching Ocoee fits into the performative dance of history-banning that DeSantis plans to brag about in the 2024 Republican primary for president. And he got this back — in writing:
The Ocoee massacre was a historical event. Like all historical events, it will be taught thoroughly.
That answer is better than anything I could have hoped for. I even asked Jeff if Corcoran had signed off on it. Here’s how he responded:
Thanks to Jeff Solochek’s questioning, the DoE has just opened the floodgates to teaching real Florida history wider than perhaps ever before.
The key sentence is: Like all historical events, it will be taught thoroughly. Remember, Ocoee is an official “standard” now — a requirement. “All historical events” are not. But they are fair game now, teachers. And you can teach them “thoroughly.”
I would still recommend doing the stupid disclaimers for your class. (You can do a lot with tone, by the way, lol.) Just say you’re not doing any of the undefinable abstract things you’re forbidden to do. And then teach real events “thoroughly.” You won’t need any theories; American action has always been quite direct.