Florida blocks high school African-American studies class from being taught

State claims new AP course from the College Board is 'inaccurate' and violates state law

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis's administration has blocked a new Advanced Placement course on African-American studies from being taught in high schools. AP
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The US state of Florida has blocked a college-level high school course on African-American studies from being taught, claiming that it is historically inaccurate and violates state law.

The state education department rejected the new Advanced Placement programme in a letter last week to the College Board, which oversees AP classes.

Florida education officials did not specify exactly what content the state found objectionable but said: “As presented, the content of this course is inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value.

“In the future, should College Board be willing to come back to the table with lawful, historically accurate content, [the education department] will always be willing to reopen the discussion.”

In a statement, the College Board responded: “Like all new AP courses, AP African-American Studies is undergoing a rigorous, multiyear pilot phase, collecting feedback from teachers, students, scholars and policymakers.

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What is critical race theory?

FRANKFORT, KY - AUGUST 28: A man with a US flag, and a.  Make America Great Again hat stands during a rendition of the US National Anthem during the Kentucky Freedom Rally at the capitol building on August 28, 2021 in Frankfort, Kentucky.  Demonstrators gathered on the grounds of the capitol to speak out against a litany of issues, including Kentucky Gov.  Andy Beshears management of the coronavirus pandemic, abortion laws, and the teaching of critical race theory.  Demonstrators and speakers also refuted the legitimacy of the 2020 United State presidential election, claiming that former President Donald Trump won and should be reinstated.    Jon Cherry / Getty Images / AFP

“The process of piloting and revising course frameworks is a standard part of any new AP course, and frameworks often change significantly as a result.”

The College Board website describes the course as interdisciplinary, touching on literature, arts, humanities, political science, geography and science. The pilot programme is making its debut at 60 schools across the country before it expands to additional schools.

Governor Ron DeSantis, a potential 2024 Republican presidential candidate, has opposed what he calls liberal ideologies in schools, including lessons around critical race theory, which examines systemic racism and has become a frequent target of conservatives.

Last year, he signed legislation called the Stop WOKE Act that restricts certain race-based conversations and analysis in schools and businesses.

The law bars instruction that says members of one race are inherently racist or should feel guilt for past actions committed by others of the same race, among other things.

More recently, the governor’s budget office called on state colleges to submit spending information on programmes related to diversity, equity and inclusion as well as critical race theory, raising concerns of potential funding cuts around such initiatives.

Updated: January 19, 2023, 10:16 PM