Florida Bans AP African-American History Course Over 'Educational Value'

Florida's ultraconservative Gov. Ron DeSantis has waged a battle against what he calls "woke" teaching.

Florida will not allow schools in the state to offer a new Advanced Placement course on African-American history, claiming it “significantly lacks educational value” and violates state law.

Florida’s Department of Education (FDOE) informed the College Board of its decision to reject the class, which is now in a pilot stage, in a letter dated Jan. 12, The New York Times reported. The letter did not cite any specific law, the Times noted.

Under its Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, Florida enacted the so-called “Stop WOKE Act” last summer to hinder teaching about systemic inequality. The law expands the legal definition of discrimination to include lessons about racial or gender-based privilege and oppression, stating that no one should be instructed to “feel guilt, anguish, or other forms of psychological distress” as a result of their race or gender.

Although it is being challenged by groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, for being unconstitutionally vague, some college instructors have been modifying their curricula on race-related topics to avoid running afoul of the legislation. Some have even canceled courses altogether rather than risk landing in legal hot water.

The College Board, a nonprofit that oversees college entrance exams, offers AP classes as a way for high school students to obtain college credit and bolster their college applications.

Currently, the AP African-American Studies course is being taught at 60 schools nationwide. However, the College Board plans to make it widely accessible by the 2024-2025 school year.

The organization’s website states that the new course, which has been in development for a decade, “reaches into a variety of fields ― literature, the arts and humanities, political science, geography, and science ― to explore the vital contributions and experiences of African Americans.” In addition, the College Board says it consulted college professors around the country for input, although the entire curriculum is not publicly available.

The course would not be automatically introduced at Florida schools. Like all AP courses, schools must apply with the College Board to offer them.

However, the Florida Department of Education is not giving school administrators any choice.

“As presented, the content of this course is inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value,” read the department’s letter to the College Board, according to WESH, an Orlando NBC affiliate.

“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,” it said, WESH reported.

In November, a judge blocked the state of Florida from enforcing the “Stop WOKE Act,” but only for colleges and universities.

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