Ron DeSantis Administration Rejects Proposed AP African American Studies Class in Florida High Schools



CNN

Republican administration. Ron DeSantis Florida blocks new advanced placement course for high school students African American Studies.

In a Jan. 12 letter to the College Board, the nonprofit organization that oversees the AP curriculum, the Florida Department of Education’s Office of Curriculum said it is “inexplicably inconsistent with Florida law and has no substantial educational value.”

“If, in the future, the College Board is willing to come back to the table with legitimate, historically accurate content, FDOE is always willing to reopen the discussion,” the letter stated.

While the letter did not describe the agency’s objection to the course content, DeSantis spokesman Brian Griffin told CNN in a statement that it “leaves large, ambiguous gaps that could be filled with additional ideological material, and we will not allow that.”

“As the Department of Education has previously stated, if the College Board complies with the curriculum, provides a full curriculum, and includes historically accurate content, the Department will review the curriculum for approval,” Griffin added.

In a statement to CNN, the College Board declined to directly comment on the decision in Florida, but said “we look forward to bringing this rich and inspiring exploration of African-American history and culture to students across the country.”

Advanced Placement African American courses were rejected following DeSantis’ efforts to reform Florida’s academic curriculum. To limit the teaching of critical race theory. In 2021, the state passed a law banning the teaching of the concept, which examines the history of systemic racism in the United States and its continuing effects. The law also prohibited The New York Times’ Pulitzer Prize-winning project The 1619 Project from reframing American history around the arrival of slave ships on American shores. Last year, DeSantis He also signed a bill The school restricts talking about race with students.

Last year, the College Board unveiled plans to offer an African American studies class for the first time. The curriculum is being piloted in 60 schools across the country in the 2022-23 academic year, with the goal of making the curriculum available to all schools in the 2024-25 academic year. According to the College Board website, the first AP African American Studies exam will be administered in the spring of 2025.

Griffin shared with CNN the outline of the curriculum for the class but did not identify which areas the state would complicate. The 81-page document, titled “Preview” from February 2022, offered a syllabus covering “major topics stretching from the medieval kingdoms of West Africa to the current challenges and achievements of the contemporary movement”.

It was not immediately clear if any schools in Florida are currently in the pilot program. The College Board said the Advanced Placement Program has been working with higher education institutions to develop an African American studies program for a decade.

“Like all new AP courses, AP African American Studies is undergoing a rigorous, multi-year pilot phase, gathering feedback from faculty, students, scholars and policymakers,” the report said. “The process of piloting and revising the course structure is a standard part of any new AP course, and the structures often change significantly as a result. We will publicly release the updated curriculum structure when it is completed, before the class becomes widely available in US high schools.

Lisa Hill, head of the history department at Hamden Hall Country Day School in Connecticut and one of the teachers driving the new curriculum, said she was “appalled” by the DeSantis administration’s criticism.

Hill told CNN when reached by phone Thursday. “This is not a subject for teaching. My philosophy of education is that you learn and discuss and discuss so that you better understand what is presented to you.

“We teach the facts,” he added. “We don’t explore theory.”

Hill, who co-chaired the team that helped develop the course, said he spent a decade creating the framework and ensuring the historical accuracy of the material, but he noted that it is not a history course. It is a multidisciplinary study of the African American diaspora that includes literature, art, science, politics, and geography.

“I know that we’ve taken the time to make sure that we’re careful to be inclusive, to make sure that students get information that a lot of people don’t know,” she said. “My students have embraced it and they’re interested. It’s fair, because sometimes history can be ugly, and I don’t believe you should shy away from it.

A Twitter post WednesdayDemocratic State Sen. Shevrin Jones, who is black, noted that Florida offers other cultural AP courses.

“This political extremism, and its attack on black history and black people, is going to create an entire generation of black children who won’t see themselves reflected in their own education or in their own states.” Jones said.

DeSantis’ move comes as his standing among conservatives has risen nationwide following hot-button cultural issues and his public stance against public health officials and bureaucracy. The international spread of Covid-19. It is said that he Has a potential weight of 2024 Presidential effort.

A group of Republican state legislators in Michigan seeking to build him up for a 2024 run signed a hand-delivered letter to the Florida governor last month asking him to “seek our Republican presidential nomination.”

The letter was signed by 18 GOP members of the Michigan Senate and House, who wrote that DeSantis is “uniquely and exceptionally qualified to provide the leadership and talent that, unfortunately, is missing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.” In closing, they said, “We stand ready and willing to help you win Michigan in 2024.”

The letter contained details First reported by Politico.

This story has been updated with additional details.

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