College Board Slams DeSantis Over AP African American Studies ‘PR Stunt’
The College Board released a statement on Saturday disputing the claims made by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) that the non-profit’s AP African American Studies course topics were altered due to objections brought about by the Florida Department of Education (FDOE).
The College Board is best known for creating and administering the SAT college placement exam but is also responsible for developing Advanced Placement (AP) courses that allow high-achieving high school students to earn college credit.
In July, the FDOE sent a letter to the College Board insisting that the proposed course would violate the state’s “anti-woke” laws.
In January, the FDOE sent a more highly publicized protest letter—which the College Board accused of being a “PR stunt which repeated the same rejection but now with inflated rhetoric and posturing.”
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A new course curriculum was announced in early February which removed “Black queer studies” and “Black Lives Matter” from a list of pre-approved topics for a mandatory essay, causing DeSantis and the FDOE to claim victory.
Several prominent Democrats such as California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) expressed outrage, accusing the College Board of caving to DeSantis’ demands.
The College Board disputed that either DeSantis or the FDOE had any effect on the curriculum edits but blasted Florida’s government for claiming otherwise.
In the statement, the College Board dismissed the notion that a series of September phone calls between the FDOE and the non-profit had any effect on the final curriculum.
“FDOE did not bring any African American Studies scholars or teachers to their call with us, despite the presence in their state of so many renowned experts in this discipline,” the statement reads. “Florida is attempting to claim a political victory by taking credit retroactively for changes we ourselves made but that they never suggested to us.”
Despite releasing its updated curriculum in early February, the College Board claims that it had made all of its changes before December 22, weeks before Florida’s highly publicized January protest.
The statement addressed the specific accusations that the FDOE had caused the College Board to remove terms such as “systemic marginalization” and “intersectionality.”
“The notion that we needed Florida to enlighten us that these terms are politicized in several states is ridiculous,” the statement read. “We took a hard look at these terms because they often are misunderstood, misrepresented, and co-opted as political weapons.”
The College Board claimed that instead of directly mentioning these terms, they felt that students would be sufficiently versed in these concepts by just studying “concrete examples” that explain these trends more practically.
The College Board has been working on its AP African American Studies curriculum for over a decade and has included the work of over 300 professors of African American Studies from more than 200 colleges nationwide.
Saturday’s statement concludes: “This new AP course can be historic — what makes history are the lived experiences of millions of African Americans, and the long work of scholars who have built this field. We hope our future efforts will unmistakably and unequivocally honor their work.”
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