Did Ron DeSantis AP Ban African American Studies in Florida?
Since his election, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has spoken out against parenting practices that he believes are overly critical of American history and its relationship to race.
Last year, DeSantis banned educators from teaching critical race theory in K-12 classrooms, part of a bill he would put an end to “Corporate and Educational Indoctrination in Florida”.
Recently, the Republican governor came under fire from his political opponents after his administration decided to reject a new supplementary high school course in African American Studies, with some blaming him directly.
A tweet by Democratic New York Congressman Ritchie Torres, released January 19, 2022, claimed that Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis had “banned the teaching of AP African American Studies in Florida.”
Torres’ tweet, which has been viewed more than 6.8 million times, added, “Florida went from Don’t Say Gay to Don’t Say Black.”
The Advanced Placement (AP) African American Studies course for high school students was part of a pilot program in 60 schools across the country administered by the College Board, which oversees AP.
According to its website, AP allows high school students to try college-level work, with exams contributing to college credits and placements.
In a January 12 letter from the Florida Department of Education’s Office of Articulation (viewed by news week), The course was rejected due to alleged problems with the content.
“As it stands, the College Board’s AP African American Studies course lacks educational value and violates Florida law,” said Cassandra Palelis, press secretary for the Florida Department of Education news week.
“If the course meets the requirements and contains historically accurate content, the Ministry will reopen the discussion.”
In a separate statement to news week, DeSantis deputy press secretary Jeremy Redfern said the course, as it exists, lacks “historical accuracy” and “educational value.”
The decision drew criticism on social media, including Torres’ tweet.
An information page for the AP program says it is “in development,” with “hundreds of additional schools” scheduled to participate in the pilot between 2023 and 2024. The AP course cannot be offered to all schools until next year.
The AP program continues on its website, “Committed to the development of AP African American Studies, the AP program has engaged faculty from hundreds of colleges and universities to ensure the course meets the academic rigor of introductory college courses within the reflects discipline.”
A “course development” page states that courses “typically go through a two to six year development process before being implemented in classrooms,” with development committees set up to “determine the overall content and skill level of each exam.”
As previously mentioned, the Florida Department of Education has agreed to resume discussion of the course should its content change.
In addition, a report by BBC The College Board explained that the course is “undergoing a rigorous, multi-year pilot phase collecting feedback from teachers, students, scholars and policymakers.”
“We look forward to bringing this rich and inspiring exploration of African American history and culture to students across the country,” she added.
Whether a reopened discussion will result in the approval of the African American Studies degree remains to be seen, but the deadlock may not necessarily be an outright ban.
DeSantis has been critical of critical race theory doctrine and last year signed a House bill known as the STOP Woke Act, which among other things revised the “Requirements for the Required Instruction in the History of African Americans.”
A statement on DeSantis’ website after he signed the bill said, “This law is the first of its kind in the nation to address both corporate vigilance and critical race theory in schools in one act.”
news week has reached out to DeSantis, the Florida Department of Education, the College Board and Ritchie Torres for comment.
The AP African American Studies course was blocked in its current form by the DeSantis government, but the Florida Department of Education said it would resume discussions about a revised version that conforms with state law.
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https://www.newsweek.com/fact-check-did-ron-desantis-ban-ap-african-american-studies-florida-1775430 Did Ron DeSantis AP Ban African American Studies in Florida?