A revolutionary new high school course that emphasizes African American history has been stopped by Florida regulators.
The proposed course “lacks educational value and is contrary to Florida law,” according to the office of Governor Ron DeSantis.
The US College Board is introducing the course to 60 high schools throughout the nation as part of a pilot initiative. Officials omitted to say which legislation the course violates.
The course breaches state law, according to a letter from the Florida Department of Education to the College Board dated January 12 outlining its intention to be blocked.
The letter noted, “In the future, should the College Board be willing to come back to the table with lawful, historically accurate content, (the Department of Education) will always be willing to reopen the discussion.”
The College Board’s first brand-new course since 2014 is the Advanced Placement (AP) African American studies course. More than 400 years of African American history will be covered, with references to literature, political science, and geography.
The course is a component of a larger AP program offered in US high schools that allows students to enroll in college-level courses before they graduate.
A spokesperson for Florida’s Republican governor DeSantis said that the course “leaves large, ambiguous gaps that can be filled with additional ideological material, which we will not allow.”
In a statement to the media, spokesperson Bryan Griffin indicated that the Department would reevaluate the course’s clearance if the College Board changed the course to conform, provided a complete course curriculum, and included historically correct information.
The College Board responded by stating that the program 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,” the board shared.
The National Parents Union expressed fury over the decision to prohibit the African American studies course, calling it a “direct attack on the Black and all (Black, Indigenous, and Persons of Color) communities.”
The group stated, adding that they will appeal the judgment, “This behavior is dangerous and should concern every American.”
Shevrin Jones, a Democrat and state senator from Florida, opposed the restriction as well, writing on Twitter that other AP classes, such as European History and a number of language and culture courses, are still offered in the state.
Mr. Jones wrote: “It’s crazy how AP African-American studies made the chopping block in FL.”
Gov. DeSantis approved the “Stop WOKE” act last year, which controls how racial and gender studies are taught in Florida schools.
Mr. DeSantis referred to the academic framework that indicates the presence of systematic racism in American culture and stated, “In Florida, we are taking a stand against the state-sanctioned racism that is critical race theory.”
However, one of the course’s creators earlier admitted to Time magazine that the training does not cover “critical race theory.”
Instead, the course “”is a mainstream, rigorously vetted, academic approach to a vibrant field of study,” according to Henry-Louis Gates Jr., a top expert on African American history in the US.