Friday, February 3, 2023

AP African American Studies course rejected by Florida to be revised, College Board says

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The College Board said Tuesday it would release a new framework for the Advanced Placement course in African American Studies that the administration of Gov. Ron DeSantis blocked from being offered in Florida high schools.

The nonprofit organization, which oversees the nationwide Advanced Placement program, announced that on Feb. 1 it would “release the official framework” for an AP African American Studies course, which it said has been under development since March.

The DeSantis administration sent a letter to the College Board rejecting the course this month, saying, “As presented, the content of this course is inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value.”

A spokesperson for the College Board did not respond to questions about whether the change was a direct result of Florida’s rejection of the course.

The organization had said that it was piloting the course at 60 high schools and that it routinely gathers feedback before it offers its courses more broadly.

“The official course framework incorporates this feedback and defines what students will encounter on the AP Exam for college credit and placement,” the College Board said Tuesday.

The Florida Education Department, which had opposed the curriculum, said it welcomed the revisions, even though they have not yet been released.

“We are glad the College Board has recognized that the originally submitted course curriculum is problematic, and we are encouraged to see the College Board express a willingness to amend,” Alex Lanfranconi, a spokesperson for the agency, said in a statement. “AP courses are standardized nationwide, and as a result of Florida’s strong stance against identity politics and indoctrination, students across the country will consequentially have access to an historically accurate, unbiased course.”

Lanfranconi said he expected the removal of content about topics “that violate our laws,” including critical race theory, Black queer studies and intersectionality.

DeSantis, who won re-election in November and is seen a potential 2024 presidential candidate, had criticized including material about queer theory as recently as Monday.

“Who would say that an important part of Black history is queer theory? That is somebody pushing an agenda on our kids,” DeSantis said. “And so, when you look and see they have stuff about intersectionality, abolishing prisons — that’s a political agenda. That’s the wrong side of the line for Florida’s standards.”

DeSantis has made education and other social issues key parts of his administration. Last year, he signed into law legislation dubbed the “Stop WOKE Act,” which restricts how race and gender are discussed in classrooms.

The White House last week criticized DeSantis’ opposition to the AP course, calling it “incomprehensible.”

“If you think about the study of Black Americans, that is what he wants to block,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at a briefing. “They didn’t block AP European History.”

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