Vice President Kamala Harris rejected Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ offer to debate his state’s new controversial standards for teaching African American history in public schools.

Last week, DeSantis signed a bill that requires educators to instruct students on “how slaved developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.”

After receiving pushback from Democratic and Republicans across the country, DeSantis wrote a letter to Harris asking her to meet him in Tallahassee to discuss on the new curriculum.

“In Florida, we are unafraid to have an open and honest dialogue about the issues,” DeSantis wrote. “And you clearly have no trouble ducking down to Florida on short notice. So given your grave concern (which, I must assume, is sincere) about what you think our standards say, I am officially inviting you back down to Florida to discuss our African American History standards.”

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The new rule prompted a visit from the vice president to Jacksonville, where she denounced DeSantis’ measure and denied any negotiation on the subject.

“Right here in Florida, they plan to teach students that enslaved people benefited from slavery. They insult us in an attempt to gaslight us, in an attempt to divide and distract our nation with unnecessary debates, and now they attempt to legitimize these unnecessary debates with a proposal that most recently came in of a politically motivated roundtable,” said Harris in her remarks at the Women’s Missionary Society of the African Methodist Episcopal Church Quadrennial Convention.

“Well, I’m here in Florida and I will tell you, there is no roundtable, no lecture, no invitation that we will accept to debate an undeniable fact: there were no redeeming qualities of slavery,” she continued.

The rule is only the latest in a series of Florida efforts to combat “wokeness.”  In 2022, DeSantis signed the “Don’t Say Gay Bill” into effect, which prohibits teachers from educating on gender identity or sexual orientation in public schools.

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