A new AP course on African American studies will not be offered to Florida high school students as the Department of Education rejected the course on the grounds that its content is illegal under Florida law.
The department’s Office of Articulation stated in a letter to a College Board representative on January 12 that the course is “inexplicably opposed to Florida law and notably lacks instructional value,” without providing any further details. A request for information on whether parts of the curriculum are illegal in Florida was not immediately answered by a department official.
The College Board’s website states that the course has been developed for more than ten years. In order to investigate the significant contributions and experiences of African Americans, the curriculum includes “books, the arts and humanities, political science, geography, and science.”
The course has been made available at 60 schools as part of a pilot program by the College Board, which oversees AP courses and the SAT exam. During the upcoming academic year, it will be introduced to hundreds more high schools.
DeSantis Administration has rejected a College Board request to approve an AP African-American Studies course in FL.
DeSantis is actively denying access to college-level history courses, while he targets the same classes w/in our higher ed institutions.https://t.co/o1sHP4MSg6
— Rep. Anna V. Eskamani 🔨 (@AnnaForFlorida) January 18, 2023
According to a statement from the board, “AP African American Studies is undergoing a rigorous, multi-year pilot period, collecting feedback from teachers, students, scholars, and policymakers.” Any new AP course must include the process of piloting and refining the course framework, and as a result, the framework frequently changes dramatically.
When the trial program is over, the board will provide an improved curriculum. In the letter, state education officials stated that they would reevaluate their decision to approve the course should it be modified to include “legal, historically correct content.”
The Stop WOKE Act, which limits how universities and businesses talk about racism, gender, and sexuality, was signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis last year, despite the Department of Education’s letter failing to specify which law or laws the course violates.
In November, a federal judge struck down the law’s higher education provisions, describing them as “positively dystopian.” That didn’t stop DeSantis from asking the 12 universities and 28 state colleges in the state for a list of all expenses and positions related to campus diversity, equity, and inclusion programs last month.
This month, his office requested information on the gender dysphoria services offered to patients on campus. Gender dysphoria is the distress and discomfort experienced when one’s gender identity differs from the sex given at birth.
DeSantis has also made education a priority in K–12 schools, most notably through the Parental Rights in Education Act, commonly known as “Don’t Say Gay” by detractors. The rule forbids teachers from kindergarten through third grade from discussing gender and sexuality in the classroom.