Florida high school students won’t have access to a new Advanced Placement course on African American Studies after Department of Education officials rejected the class, saying its curriculum violates state law.
Citing no specifics, the department’s Office of Articulation wrote in a letter to a College Board official Jan. 12 that the class is “inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value.” A department spokesperson did not immediately return a request for information on what aspects of the curriculum violate Florida law.
The class has been in development for more than a decade, according to College Board’s website. Curriculum covers “literature, the arts and humanities, political science, geography, and science … to explore the vital contributions and experiences of African Americans.”
The College Board, which administers Advanced Placement classes and the SAT exam, has offered the class at 60 schools as part of a pilot program. It will be rolled out to hundreds more high schools during the next school year.
“Like all new AP courses, AP African American Studies is undergoing a rigorous, multi-year pilot phase, collecting feedback from teachers, students, scholars and policymakers,” the board said in a statement. “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.”
Diversity, equity and inclusion audit:DeSantis wants to know how much Florida colleges spend on ‘trendy ideology’
This is not going away:Gov. Ron DeSantis sworn in for second term, calls Florida a ‘citadel of freedom’
The board will release updated curriculum when the pilot program is complete. State education officials said in the letter that they would reconsider approving the course should it be changed to have “lawful, historically accurate content.”
While the Department of Education letter doesn’t cite which law or laws the course violates, Gov. Ron DeSantis last year signed the Stop WOKE Act into law to restrict how colleges and workplaces talk about race, gender and sexuality.
A federal judge in November blocked the higher education portion of that law, calling it “positively dystopian.” That didn’t stop DeSantis from last month requesting a list of all costs and positions associated with campus diversity, equity and inclusion programs from the state’s 12 universities and 28 state colleges. This month, his office requested data on campus health services provided to patients with gender dysphoria, or the feeling of distress and discomfort when one’s gender identity doesn’t align with their sex assigned at birth.
DeSantis has also targeted K-12 school instruction, most notably through the Parental Rights in Education law, nicknamed “Don’t Say Gay” by critics. The law prohibits classroom instruction on gender and sexuality in kindergarten through third grade.