The Executive Board on Saturday accused the Florida Department of Education of “slander”, after constant criticism of her Advanced Placement (AP) African American Studies course, which was piloted this year at 60 unnamed high schools across the US. It is unclear whether any of those schools are in Florida.
“Our commitment to AP African American Studies is unwavering,” the board wrote in a statement, before expressing regret over how it had handled ongoing tensions with the state’s education department.
“We deeply regret not immediately denouncing the Florida Department of Education’s defamation, reinforced by subsequent comments from the DeSantis administration, that African American Studies ‘lacks educational value.’ Our failure to raise our voices betrayed black scholars everywhere and those who have long toiled to build this remarkable field,” the statement read.
The board continued that “we made the mistake of treating FDOE with the courtesy we always extend to an education agency, but instead they exploited this 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 education department’s Office of Articulation said that “in its current form,” the “course has no educational value and violates Florida law.”
Just weeks later, the College Board posted the AP African American Studies course curriculum online, which now lacked some of the topics about which DeSantis had expressed particular concerns, such as writings related to critical race theory, the queer experience, and Black feminism. reported the New York Times.
On Feb. 7, the state’s Office of Articulation wrote a letter to the College Board in response to the revised curriculum, saying that “not coincidentally, we were grateful to see the College Board’s revised framework of Feb. 1, 2023, remove 19 subjects, many of which FDOE cited as in violation of Florida law, including discriminatory and historically fictional subjects.”
“In Florida’s bid for a political victory, they have taken credit for the specific changes we made to the official framework, which they never asked us to remove, and most of which are in the official framework,” the Executive Board replied. in his statement Saturday.
On the characterization of some subjects as “historically fictional,” the statement continued, “The Board of Governors condemns this uninformed caricature of African-American studies and the harm it causes to scholars and students.”
Last March, DeSantis signed the “Stop WOKE Act,” which prohibits the teaching of critical race theory in Florida schools. The college board said on Saturday that allegations that the board was in “regular discussions” with Florida officials about the “content” of the course was a “false and politically motivated allegation.”
“We have not negotiated the content of this course with Florida or any other state, nor have we received any requests, suggestions or feedback,” the board’s statement reads.
Henry-Louis Gates, Jr., one of the nation’s leading experts on African-American history — and who helped develop the AP African American Studies program — told Time Magazine that the course specifically “does not require CRT is”.
“It’s a mainstream, tightly controlled academic approach to a vibrant field, half a century old in the American academy, and of course much older in historically black colleges and universities,” he said.
The AP program, which gives high school students the chance to take college-level courses before graduation, includes 38 subjects, including English Literature and Composition, U.S. Government and Politics, Statistics, and Art History.
The AP African American Studies course is the first new offering from the College Board since 2014, according to Time, and will cover more than 400 years of African American history. It was more than a decade in the making before its first pilot, and its curriculum spans several subjects, including literature, political science, and geography.
A trip to the past | 60 minutes
Man unknowingly buys former plantation home where his ancestors were enslaved | 60 minutes
The Dark Legacy of Canada’s Residential Schools, Where Thousands of Children Died | 60 minutes