State Watch

DeSantis administration rejects AP African American studies for Florida schools

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) administration has sent a letter to the College Board rejecting the new Advanced Placement African American Studies course. 

In a letter to Brian Barnes, senior director of the College Board Florida Partnership, the Florida Department of Education said “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, FDOE will always be willing to reopen the discussion.”

The letter, signed by the department’s Office of Articulation, did not name which law the course violated or what part of the curriculum it was objecting to. 

When reached for comment Thursday, the department did not answer those questions.

Florida has banned schools from teaching “critical race theory,” which aims to understand racism in the United States. Most experts on the subject have said it is not taught in elementary or high schools, but opposition to the concept has become a rallying cry for Republicans.

Last year, DeSantis signed legislation called the Stop WOKE Act, which restricted how racism can be taught in schools. The law, which stands for Stop Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees, prohibits any instruction that could make someone feel “personal responsibility” for historic wrongdoings because of their race, sex or national origin.

DeSantis’s office did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment.

The College Board introduced the AP African American Studies course as a pilot program in 60 schools across the country last year. According to the College Board’s website, it has worked for more than a decade with colleges, universities and secondary schools to develop the course.

“Drawing from the expertise and experience of college faculty and teachers across the country, the course is designed to offer high school students an evidence-based introduction to African American studies,” the course description reads.   

“The interdisciplinary course 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.”   

Because it is a pilot program, students currently enrolled in the course cannot take the AP exam, which could provide college credit. AP exams and college credit for the course are expected to be awarded in the spring of 2025.

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