The administration of DeSantis and the College Board are still fighting over whether or not Florida’s loud objections to an African American studies course had any effect on how the curriculum was made.
In a letter sent this week, Florida education officials say that they first asked in July if the Advanced Placement coursework was legal under the state’s anti-“woke” laws that limit how race can be taught in the classroom. Florida’s new timeline goes against what the nonprofit has said recently, and it comes at a time when the state is reviewing the updated curriculum.
The College Board responded to these claims on Thursday in a way that contradicts what the DeSantis administration said happened. Specifically, the nonprofit said that it “never” got written feedback from Florida, even though it “repeatedly asked” for more information about how the course breaks state law.
In a letter to Florida, College Board officials said, “If Florida or any other state chooses not to adopt this course, we would regret that decision, and we think teachers and students would, too.”
The back-and-forth shows that both sides are trying to win in an event that has gotten national attention and made everyone involved look bad. DeSantis and Florida education officials have used the African American AP course as an example of how “wokeness” has crept into high school curriculum and rejected the lessons from being taught in the state. But black leaders and others said that the governor and state were trying to erase the past.
The College Board had previously said that Florida or any other state didn’t have anything to do with how it changed its new AP course on African American studies, which will start in the 2024-2025 school year. Instead, it said that changes had already been made to the program before the DeSantis administration raised concerns.
But that didn’t stop Democrats and other groups from criticizing the College Board’s changes. They said the nonprofit gave in to conservatives by taking out parts of the course that had to do with Black Lives Matter, Black feminism, and queer studies.
The organization, on the other hand, says that the topics being looked at were part of the pilot phase of the course and would never be part of its official framework. And on top of that, the College Board said that its changes were done by Dec. 22, which was “weeks before Florida’s objections were shared,” according to the nonprofit.
But now, the Florida Department of Education says that state officials have been talking to the College Board about the course since January 2022. In July, they asked if it was legal under state law for the first time.
In a letter to the College Board this week, Florida’s education agency said that the state’s Office of Articulation told the nonprofit in September that the course could not be accepted without changes. If that had happened, it would have been months before the issue got national attention.
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“That FDOE and the College Board have been communicating since January 2022 regarding the proposed course is remarkable,” Florida education officials wrote in a letter Tuesday that was first reported by the Daily Caller. “We do appreciate the regular, two-way verbal and written dialogue on this important topic.”
Officials in Florida said they were “grateful” that the College Board took 19 topics out of the African American Studies framework. The topics, which the state said were “discriminatory and historically false,” had been removed because they were “discriminatory and historically false.”
In response, the College Board defended its course plans, which have been closely looked at. “We are confident in the historical accuracy of every topic included in the pilot framework, as well as those now in the official framework,” College Board officials wrote Thursday.
The Florida Department of Education will look at the AP course to see if it should be offered in schools starting next fall.
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