College Board revises AP Black history class after criticism
BATON ROUGE, LA. >> The official curriculum for a new Advanced Placement course on African American studies that was released on Wednesday downplays some components that drew criticism from conservatives including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who had threatened to ban the class in his state.
In the new framework, topics including Black Lives Matter and queer life are not part of the exam. They are included only on a list of sample project topics that states and school systems can choose from for assignments.
The course is currently being tested at 60 schools around the U.S., and the official materials are intended to guide its expansion to hundreds of additional high schools in the next academic year. The College Board, which oversees AP courses, said developers consulted with professors from more than 200 colleges, including several historically Black institutions.
The rejection of the course by DeSantis, a Republican, has stirred new political debate over how schools teach about race.
In January the state issued a chart that said the course promotes the idea that modern American society oppresses Black people, other minorities and women, includes a chapter on “Black Queer Studies” that the administration finds inappropriate, and uses articles by critics of capitalism. The Florida Department of Education told the College Board it would bar the course unless changes are made.
DeSantis, a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2024, said he was blocking the course in Florida because it pushes a political agenda.
“In the state of Florida, our education standards not only don’t prevent, but they require teaching Black history, all the important things. That’s part of our core curriculum,” DeSantis said at a news conference last week. “We want education and not indoctrination.”
The course is currently being tested at 60 schools around the U.S., and the official materials are intended to guide its expansion to hundreds of additional high schools in the next academic year.
In a written statement Wednesday, College Board CEO David Coleman said the course is “an unflinching encounter with the facts and evidence of African American history and culture.”
“No one is excluded from this course: the Black artists and inventors whose achievements have come to light; the Black women and men, including gay Americans, who played pivotal roles in the Civil Rights movements; and people of faith from all backgrounds who contributed to the antislavery and Civil Rights causes. Everyone is seen,” he said.