The banning of the teaching of an Advanced Placement African American History course by the Florida Department of Education has sparked outrage among many in the state and beyond.
Saying the class was “contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value,” the Department of Education sent the College Board, which administers A.P. exams, a letter saying they would not include the class in the state’s course directory. Rigorous A.P. courses allow high school students to obtain credit and advanced placement in college.
The letter did not identify which law the course violated, but las year, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation that restricted how racism and other aspects of history can be taught in schools and workplaces. The law’s sponsors called it the Stop WOKE Act. Among other things, it prohibits instruction that could make students feel responsibility for or guilt about the past actions of other members of their race.
Despite calls to overturn the ban, this week DeSantis came out in support of the ban saying the course’s lessons delve too far into political agendas, broaching topics such as queer studies and abolishing prisons.
Black officials in the state, from Democratic lawmakers to faith leaders, however, are seeking to “When I heard it didn’t meet the standards, I figured, yeah, they may be doing CRT,” DeSantis told reporters at an event in Jacksonville. “It’s way more than that.”
The ban has racked up criticism from academics, advocacy groups and liberal policymakers including the Biden administration, which on Friday said that blocking the course was “incomprehensible.”
On Wednesday, a packed rally held at the Capitol in Tallahassee drew a coalition of students, teachers, lawmakers, faith leaders and national standouts including Atty. Ben Crump who threatened to file a class action lawsuit if DeSantis “doesn’t negotiate with the College Board.”
The College Board, the organization responsible for administering standardized tests like the SATs, had spent a decade developing the African American studies AP course and is offering it to more than 60 schools in the country as a pilot program. On Wednesday, the College Board announced it was “reworking” the course. Their statement did not say whether the changes were in response to Florida’s ban.