The College Board announced Tuesday it will be updating its framework for its Advanced Placement (AP) African American Studies (APAAS) course in a statement that comes following the course’s rejection by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) and his state’s Department of Education (FDOE).
The College Board said its final framework for the course will be released on Febuary 1, reported WESH.
“Before a new AP course is made broadly available, it is piloted in a small number of high schools to gather feedback from high schools and colleges,” the College Board stated. “The official course framework incorporates this feedback and defines what students will encounter on the AP Exam for college credit and placement. We are grateful for the contributions of experts, teachers, and students and look forward to sharing the framework broadly.”
In a copy of a letter obtained by The Star News Network last week, the FDOE’s Office of Articulation wrote to Brian Barnes, senior director of the College Board Florida Partnership, that the state “does not approve the inclusion of the Advanced Placement (AP) African American Studies course in the Florida Course Code Directory and Instructional Personnel Assignments.”
“As presented, the content of this course is inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value,” the state education department added. “In the future, should College Board be willing to come back to the table with lawful, historically accurate content, FDOE will always be willing to reopen the discussion.”
As WESH reported, FDOE named six areas of “concern” in the AP curriculum, including the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT), the justice system, and social interaction.
Florida’s Stop WOKE Act prohibits the promotion of CRT in grades K-12.
Writings for the course that were rejected by Florida included those by radical Marxist and former Communist Party member Angela Davis, and others associated with portions of the course called the “Movement for Black Lives,” and “Black Queer Studies.”
“We have guidelines and standards in Florida,” DeSantis said about the decision to reject the AP framework. “We want education, not indoctrination.”
Education is about the pursuit of truth, not the imposition of ideology or the advancement of a political agenda. pic.twitter.com/Hete9aeHlF
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) January 23, 2023
“Who would say that an important part of Black history is queer theory?” the governor added. “That is somebody pushing an agenda on our kids. And so, when you see they have stuff about intersectionality and abolishing our prisons. That’s a political agenda.”
Florida House Democrat Leader Fentrice Driskell referred to the DeSantis administration as “cowardly” for rejecting the APAAS course and said it “sends a clear message that Black Americans’ history does not count in Florida,” reported Fortune.
“The study of African American history is required by Florida law and has been expanded under @GovRonDeSantis,” posted the FDOE, citing its “robust African American instructional standards.”
The study of African American history is required by Florida law and has been expanded under @GovRonDeSantis. Florida has robust African American instructional standards, which can be found at the link below. https://t.co/kbbwfLRC6S
— Florida Department of Education (@EducationFL) January 20, 2023
Stanley Kurtz, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, wrote Monday at National Review about the AP framework’s “Movement for Black Lives” section:
The fourth quarter of the course features a topic on “The Movement for Black Lives.” The Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) was started by the Marxist organizers who founded Black Lives Matter. Yet M4BL extends far beyond BLM, encompassing “over 170 Black-led organizations.” M4BL is organized around an extensive policy platform, the “Vision for Black Lives.” That platform is radical, to say the least. As you might expect, it includes planks such as defunding the police. M4BL’s platform goes further, however, by calling for the abolition of all money bail, and even all pretrial detention. To this end, the “Vision for Black Lives” endorses federal legislation by “Squad” member, Representative Ayanna Pressley.
Kurtz wrote Wednesday the College Board’s announcement that it would release a revised framework for its pilot APAAS course on February 1 may be a sign that DeSantis is “on the verge of a major victory in the education wars.”
“The College Board is pretending that its hastily thrown together APAAS revision is business as usual,” Kurtz unraveled the state of the situation as framed by the College Board.
“It claims the revised framework is a long-planned response to feedback from the pilot course’s teachers and students,” he explained. “That is transparently false. We’ve only gotten halfway through the first year of a two-year APAAS pilot program. The pilot course hasn’t even gotten to the final quarter, which is where the controversy is and where most of the revisions will surely be made.”
“How can a February 1 announcement of the ‘official framework’ be based on feedback from the pilot’s students and teachers?” Kurtz asked. “They can’t give feedback on what they haven’t covered.”
A veteran of the war over the College Board’s leftist AP U.S. History framework and its “bogus revision,” Kurtz reminded his readers that, in that case, “the College Board floated a Potemkin revision, designed to silence critics without actually changing the course.”
Nevertheless, since the APAAS course is still in a very early phase – before “textbooks have been written and no course syllabi have been approved,” Kurtz advised FDOE to “take all the time it needs to properly assess” the revisions.
“Attention should be paid as well to the first three quarters of the course, not just the controversial final quarter,” he noted, emphasizing the power the College Board’s AP program has enjoyed for years over K-12 education while it has allowed “radical academics to impose their biases on our schools.”
BREAKING: Florida College System presidents declare their schools will not use funds to compel CRT beliefs on students pic.twitter.com/44RGuPrSzr
— Florida’s Voice (@FLVoiceNews) January 18, 2023
“It took tremendous courage for DeSantis to risk false charges of bias by blocking APAAS in its current form,” Kurtz observed about the Florida governor.
“Having done so, DeSantis has revealed the weakness of the College Board’s position,” he said. “DeSantis is showing states how to take back control of their schools. Yet all that could be lost via premature acceptance of the College Board’s revised APAAS curriculum.”
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Susan Berry, PhD is national education editor at The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]