College Board Calls Florida Attacks on AP’s African American Studies Course ‘False and Politically Motivated’

The College Board on Saturday accused the Florida Department of Education of “slander”, after continued criticism of his Advanced Placement (AP) African American Studies course, which was rolled out in a pilot program to 60 unnamed U.S. high schools this year. It is not known if any of these schools are in Florida.

“Our commitment to AP African American Studies is unwavering,” the College Board wrote in a statement, before expressing regret for its handling of ongoing tension with the state Department of Education.

“We deeply regret not immediately speaking out against the Florida Department of Education’s slander, amplified by the DeSantis administration’s subsequent comments that African American Studies ‘lacks educational value.’ the voice betrayed black scholars around the world and those who have long worked hard to build this remarkable field,” the statement read.

The College Board went on to say that “we made the mistake of treating FDOE with the courtesy we always extend to an education agency, but instead they exploited that courtesy for their political agenda.”

Last month, the DeSantis administration blocked the introduction of AP African American Studies. In a Jan. 12 letter to the College Board, the state Department of Education’s Articulation Office said that “in its current form,” the “course lacks educational value and is contrary to the law of Florida”.

A few weeks later, the College Board released the syllabus for the AP African American Studies course online, which now lacked some of the topics DeSantis had expressed particular concern about, such as writings associated with critical race theory, the queer experience and black feminism, reported the New York Times.

Student Samaya Robinson, 17, holds a sign protesting the district’s ban on the Critical Race Theory program at Great Oak High School in Temecula, Calif., on Friday, Dec. 16, 2022.

Watchara Phomicinda/The Press-Enterprise via Getty Images

On February 7, the state’s Office of Articulation wrote to the College Board in response to its revised curriculum, saying that “it is no coincidence, we were grateful to see that the College Board’s revised framework of February 1, 2023 removed 19 topics, many of which FDOE cited as being in conflict with Florida law, including discriminatory and historically fictional topics.

“In Florida’s effort to engineer a political victory, they claimed the specific changes we made to the official framework, none of which we have ever been asked to remove, and most of which remain in the official framework,” a answered the College Board. in his statement on Saturday.

Regarding the characterization of certain subjects as “historically fictitious”, the statement continued, “The College Board condemns this misinformed caricature of African American studies and the harm it does to scholars and students.”

Last March, DeSantis signed the “Stop the act of waking up”, which prohibits the teaching of critical race theory in Florida schools. The College Board said on Saturday that allegations that the board was in “frequent dialogue” with Florida officials regarding the course’s “content” were a “false and politically motivated accusation.”

FILE – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis reacts after signing House Bill 7 also dubbed the “Stop WOKE Act,” at Mater Academy Charter Middle/High School in Hialeah Gardens, Florida on April 22, 2022.

Miami Herald via Getty Imahes

“We have had no negotiations regarding the content of this course with Florida or any other state, and we have not received any requests, suggestions, or comments,” reads the College Board’s statement.

Henry-Louis Gates, Jr., one of the nation’s foremost experts on African-American history — and who helped develop AP’s African-American studies program — told Time magazine that the course specifically “is not CRT”.

“It is a traditional academic approach, rigorously controlled, a dynamic field of study, half a century old in the American academy, and much older, of course, in colleges and universities. historically black,” he said.

The AP program, which gives high school students the opportunity to take college-level courses before graduation, covers 38 subjects, including English literature and composition, American government and politics, statistics and history. art.

The AP African American Studies course is the College Board’s first new offering since 2014, according to Time, and will cover more than 400 years of African American history. It had been in the works for more than a decade before its initial pilot project, and the program will cover several subjects, including literature, political science and geography.

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