- The Florida Department of Education rejected an AP African American Studies course because it lacked “educational value and historical accuracy.”
- The course featured tenets of Critical Race Theory and a section on queer theory, according to the syllabus obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
- “As Governor DeSantis has stated, our classrooms will be a place for education, not indoctrination,” Bryan Griffin, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ press secretary, told the DCNF.
An AP African American Studies course rejected by the Florida Department of Education (DOE) on Jan. 12 contained tenets of Critical Race Theory (CRT) and a section on queer theory, according to a copy of the syllabus obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The state DOE Office of Articulation informed the College Board Florida Partnership that it would not approve AP African American Studies to be taught in high schools because the course content violated state law prohibiting CRT, according to the rejection letter obtained by the DCNF. An analysis of the course syllabus shows that it includes CRT-related content as well as sections on intersectionality and queer theory.
“The Florida Department of Education has rejected the College Board’s AP African American Studies course because it lacks educational value and historical accuracy,” Bryan Griffin, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ press secretary, told the DCNF. “As submitted, the course is a vehicle for a political agenda and leaves large, ambiguous gaps that can be filled with additional ideological material, which we will not allow. As Governor DeSantis has stated, our classrooms will be a place for education, not indoctrination.”
CRT holds that America is systemically racist and seeks to hold groups of people accountable for the actions of their ancestors.
Unit 4 includes a section titled “African American Studies: Movements and Methods,” under which is a lesson on “Black Queer Studies.” The section teaches students about “the concept of the queer of color critique, grounded in Black feminism and intersectionality, as a Black studies lens that shifts sexuality studies toward racial analysis,” according to the syllabus.
The course also includes readings from Eduardo Bonilla Silva, author of “Racism Without Racists.” The book “examines in detail how Whites talk, think, and account for the existence of racial inequality and makes clear that color-blind racism is as insidious now as ever,” according to its description.
Silva is referenced during the course’s lesson on “‘Postracial’ Racism and Colorblindness” which studies “postracialism, colorblindness, racecraft, or inequality through a scholarly text.” The DOE informed the College Board that it may propose another course that has “lawful, historically accurate content,” according to the letter. The College Board told the DCNF that “AP African American Studies is undergoing a rigorous, multi-year pilot phase, collecting feedback from teachers, students, scholars and policymakers.”
“The process of piloting and revising course frameworks is a standard part of any new AP course, and frameworks often change significantly as a result,” College Board said. “We will publicly release the updated course framework when it is completed and well before this class is widely available in American high schools. We look forward to bringing this rich and inspiring exploration of African-American history and culture to students across the country.”
During his tenure, DeSantis has signed legislation regulating content taught in public classrooms. Griffin pointed to the governor’s signing of HB 1213 which requires students to learn about the Ocoee Massacre.
The Ocoee Massacre is known as the “largest incident of voting-day violence in United States history,” according to the Orange County Regional History Center, during which an unknown number of African Americans were killed by riots on Election Day after Mose Norman, an African American man, attempted to vote but was turned away from the polls.
“Governor DeSantis has continually advocated for and ensured Florida’s schools utilize accurate, historical curriculum, including curriculum that factually portrays African American History,” Griffin said.
Florida law requires that students in public schools learn African American history. Florida Statutes 1003.42 holds students in K-12 will learn “the history of African Americans, including the history of African peoples before the political conflicts that led to the development of slavery, the passage to America, the enslavement experience, abolition, and the history and contributions of Americans of the African diaspora to society.”
“Students shall develop an understanding of the ramifications of prejudice, racism, and stereotyping on individual freedoms, and examine what it means to be a responsible and respectful person, for the purpose of encouraging tolerance of diversity in a pluralistic society and for nurturing and protecting democratic values and institutions,” the statute reads.
The statute maintains that history must be taught in an “age-appropriate manner” and that “curriculum may not be used to indoctrinate or persuade students to a particular point of view.”
The DOE and Silva did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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