Usually a quiet working place, on the morning of Jan. 25, a crowd of people gathered at the Florida Capitol to protest the banning of CollegeBoard’s new AP African American Studies course done by the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE). A multitude of reasons for this course being banned includes the course violating Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Bill and the Individual Freedom Act. Desantis feels as though the course is lacking educational value and worries that the course is pushing a political agenda rather than education.
AP African American Studies was created by the expertise and experience of college faculty across the United States for more than a decade, with CollegeBoard making sure the curriculum covers a variety of topics. The course serves to offer an evidence-based introduction to African American studies which would open the doors for students to dive deeper to these topics in college. Experts, such as Chair of Howard University History’s Department Dr. Nikki Taylor, recognizes the importance of creating and offering an AP course like this.
“A solid understanding of how African Americans have shaped America, its history, laws, institutions, culture and arts, and even the current practice of American democracy, sharpens all knowledge about our nation,” Taylor said.
Aside from the experts, most students are outraged by the ban because of the fact that it takes away an opportunity to learn more about American history, especially when there are a multitude of other similar history and culture courses that CollegeBoard offers.
“I feel that [the ban] is inconsiderate especially because African American history is already underrepresented as it is,” junior Evangeline Oguledo said. “It is important that students are able to get an all-inclusive and in-depth education in all parts of history, even the uncomfortable parts.”
Despite the criticism, CollegeBoard is moving on with the course. CollegeBoard even changed parts of the curriculum due to feedback from students taking the pilot version of it about the lengthy documents. Even though CollegeBoard took out some documents that the FLDOE disputed, the FLDOE still hasn’t overturned their decision on the ban, and CollegeBoard is still making sure that their original intention of the course is heard.
“This course is an unflinching encounter with the facts and evidence of African American history and culture,” CEO of CollegeBoard David Coleman said. “No one is excluded from this course: the Black artists and inventors whose achievements have come to light; the Black women and men, including gay Americans, who played pivotal roles in the civil rights movement; and people of faith from all backgrounds who contributed to the antislavery and civil rights causes. Everyone is seen.”