- Political opponents of Gov. Ron DeSantis made waves late this week in publicly decrying the DeSantis administration’s decision to reject the offering of Advanced Placement African American Studies courses in Florida high schools
- Critics state that the move supplements efforts to shut down discussions about race
- Those in support of the governor claim that the curriculum violates state standards and serves as a vehicle for a political agenda
Opponents of Gov. Ron DeSantis are voicing criticisms of his administration’s recent decision to reject the teaching of Advanced Placement (AP) African American Studies in Florida high schools.
In a letter obtained by The Capitolist dated January 12th, the DeSantis administration told College Board, which administers standardized AP testing, that the course’s rejection was decided on the basis that the class is “inexplicably contrary to Florida law,” and “significantly lacks educational value.”
“The Florida Department of Education has rejected the College Board’s AP African American Studies course because it lacks educational value and historical accuracy,” the Office of the Governor stated via email. “As submitted, the course is a vehicle for a political agenda and leaves large, ambiguous gaps that can be filled with additional ideological material, which we will not allow. As Governor DeSantis has stated, our classrooms will be a place for education, not indoctrination.
According to the AP syllabus, the course is an interdisciplinary class that examines the diversity of African American experiences through direct encounters with authentic and varied sources.
Further, the course challenges students to “identify the intersections of race, gender, and class,” as well as connections between Black communities in the United States and the broader African diaspora.
Critics of the move, namely Democrat lawmakers, were quick to publicly decry the decision, including Sen. Shevrin Jones, who spoke to The Capitolist on the matter.
“That the governor continues to push this narrative that teachers or our institutions are indoctrinating an ideology to children and students is a problem on the surface,” said Jones. “What we’re talking about is years of history, that is also fact, that the governor seems to want to erase and whitewash, creating a narrative that this is what’s dividing this country and this state.”
Jones also touched on the proliferating tensions between DeSantis and established curricula across the state, culminating in the governor’s signing of the ‘Stop WOKE Act’ last year.
The legislation lists a series of race-related concepts and says it would constitute discrimination if students are subjected to instruction that promotes pupils to believe the concepts.
Following the bill’s passage, it was halted in courts and prevented from being enforced.
“I think Florida is doing its absolute best to tilt the scale to shut down discussions about race, to shut down discussions about slavery, and anything to do with a challenge to the idea that racism is still prevalent in this country,” Jones continued.
Jones further noted that similar AP courses including European History and various language and culture classes are permitted to be taught as intended, questioning why solely African American Studies was axed.
“It’s par for the course,” quipped Jones.
– AP European History
– AP Art History
– AP Japanese Language & Culture
– AP German Language & Culture
– AP Italian Language & Culture
– AP Spanish Language & Culture
Are AP classes currently offered. It’s crazy how AP African-American studies made the chopping block in FL. 🤔
— Shevrin “Shev” Jones (@ShevrinJones) January 19, 2023
Meanwhile, those close to DeSantis, like Deputy Press Secretary Jeremy Redfern, rejected opposing notions, stating that College Board is “trying to pass off a thinly cited and largely ideological course as education is not good enough for Florida’s students.”
Those working with the Florida Department of Education told The Capitolist that if College Board amends the course to comply with state standards, the Department will reconsider the course for approval.
“Governor DeSantis has continually advocated for and ensured Florida’s schools utilize accurate, historical curriculum, including curriculum that factually portrays African American History,” concluded the Office of the Governor.