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Read the AP African American Studies Standards for Yourself
See if the program "lacks educational value" as Gov. Ron Desantis of Florida said
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Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida and his administration instigated outrage for rejecting the proposed standards of an Advanced Placement (AP) course in African American Studies.
He took issue with a unit on “queer studies”, ideas about abolishing prisons, and he called it a “political agenda”. Here’s a list of the specific grievances of his administration.
When I heard about the decision of DeSantis and his administration, I had two immediate thoughts.
First, the AP curriculum is in the pilot phase. This stage is explicitly set aside to receive feedback and make adjustments before the material is broadly disseminated.
The AP Board wrote in a statement, “Before a new AP course is made broadly available, it is piloted in a small number of high schools to gather feedback from high schools and colleges.”
I’m not sure who broke the story about DeSantis’ stance on the AP African American Studies course, but there was a mechanism for him and his administration to submit feedback in a less public way. He could have used the existing process to voice his concerns.
Instead he made a spectacle out of the decision. These actions seem to indicate a desire to score political points and lob another salvo in the Culture Wars rather than a genuine interest in quality education.
The second thought I had was, “Let’s see the curriculum.” As a researcher and an educator, of course, I wanted to see what was in the standards for myself. But at the time they hadn’t been released.
Now they are available to read. Keep in mind, this is a draft and the AP Board will revise. Also be aware that AP courses are designed to give students exposure to college-level content so they can receive credit and accelerate their time to earning a degree. This means that certain material can be taught without being endorsed and without it constituting a “political agenda.”
This is not to say that the standards cannot be improved or revised. Given the record of DeSantis and other people on the far right opposing African American history on the spurious grounds of “indoctrinating” students or promoting what they call Critical Race Theory, however, we should understand that they are not good faith actors with students at the center of their concerns.
Read the standards for yourself HERE.