Florida Department Of Education Rejects Advanced Placement African American Studies Course
The department indicated in a letter to the College Board that the course is "inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value."
by Danteé Ramos
January 23, 2023 at 5:51 pm
Florida has blocked the College Board from testing a pilot Advanced Placement African American Studies course under Governor Ron DeSantis’ Stop WOKE Act.
The Stop WOKE Act makes it illegal to teach that a person’s status as privileged or oppressed is determined solely by race, color, national origin, or gender.
According to Rolling Stone, the bill also prohibits schools and workplaces from subjecting any student or employee to training or instruction that espouses, promotes, advances, instills or compels individuals to believe certain concepts constitute discrimination based on race, color, gender or national origin.
The Daily Beast reports Florida’s Department of Education’s Office of Articulation wrote a letter obtained by the National Review that said the curriculum “is inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value.”
The AP pilot course has previously been tested at 60 schools across the United States with plans to expand the lesson plans of the African diaspora in the U.S. curated by the College Board.
The course has been met with denial following DeSantis’s ban against critical race theory in K-12 classrooms. According to Rolling Stone, CRT is a set of ideas holding that racial bias is inherent in many parts of Western society, especially in its legal and social institutions. It also focuses on having been primarily designed for and implemented by white people.
The Daily Beast says the rejection letter expressed its lack of support for African American studies based on a lack of educational value.
“As presented, the content of this course is inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value,” the letter reads.
In an email with The Daily Beast, Florida Department of Education spokesperson Cassie Pelelis revealed the course would not be accepted until it meets state compliance.
“If the course comes into compliance and incorporates historically accurate content, the Department will reopen the discussion,” Pelelis wrote.
The College Board has not said whether it expected the AP class to be offered in Florida classrooms any time soon.
“The process of piloting and revising course frameworks is a standard part of any new AP course, and frameworks change significantly as a result,” the College Board said in a statement to The Daily Beast. “We look forward to publicly releasing the updated course framework as soon as it is completed and well before this class is widely available in American high schools.”
Democratic legislators like Anna Eskamani, Florida educators and students across Florida are protesting the state’s decision, calling it “unsettling.”
“If I can take American and European history, there’s absolutely no reason why. I see no reason why our students shouldn’t have the option to take African-American history,” Eskamani told The Daily Beast.
“These are optional elective classes and they’re designed for a level of academic rigor that is reflected in some of the best and brightest students we have. To deny them the ability to learn history is scary, it’s unsettling, and it’s unfortunately, all too common for the standard administration who would rather people be in the dark,” she added.
“It means an insult to me; it means an injury to me,” Dr. Marvin Dunn, former professor of psychology at Florida International University and a specialist in the state’s Black history, said. “ Florida is doing its best to shut down discussions about race, slavery, anything having to do with a challenge to the idea that racism is still a real factor in American life today.”
Dunn expressed the importance of voting after the denial of the AP courses. He explained that he sees these matters as a way to take away students’ opportunity to learn their history as a warning.