College Board denounces DeSantis' administration comments on AP African American studies course

College Board sent out a statement Saturday expressing their failure to immediately denounce Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' administration's slander on the AP African American studies course. 

They alleged that the DeSantis administration's used their statements on the proposed AP African American Studies course as part of a political agenda. 

In a statement, College Board said, "We deeply regret not immediately denouncing the Florida Department of Education’s slander, magnified by the DeSantis administration’s subsequent comments, that African American Studies ‘lacks educational value.’ Our failure to raise our voice betrayed Black scholars everywhere and those who have long toiled to build this remarkable field.

On Jan 19, DeSantis's administration blocked parts of the coursework claiming it violated state law and was historically inaccurate. The state made several objections to the proposed course including: 

  • Intersectionality and Activism
  • Black Queer Studies
  • Movements for Black Lives
  • Black Feminist Literary Thought
  • The Reparations Movement
  • Black Study and Black struggle in the 21st century

College Board said they welcome debate about the content of new AP courses, but said the dialogue surrounding the African American studies course has "moved from healthy debate to misinformation." College Board said the framework released was to only outline the course and will still "be populated by the scholarly articles, video lectures, and practice questions that we assemble and make available to all AP teachers in the summer for free and easy assignment to their students." 

Florida's education officials did not specify exactly what content the state found objectionable but said, "As presented, the content of this course is inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value."

College Board went on to say: 

"We have made the mistake of treating FDOE with the courtesy we always accord to an education agency, but they have instead exploited this courtesy for their political agenda. After each written or verbal exchange with them, as a matter of professional protocol, we politely thanked them for their feedback and contributions, although they had given none. In Florida’s effort to engineer a political win, they have claimed credit for the specific changes we made to the official framework. In their February 7, 2023, letter to us, which they leaked to the media within hours of sending, Florida expresses gratitude for the removal of 19 topics, none of which they ever asked us to remove, and most of which remain in the official framework."

They also claimed that we removed terms like "systemic marginalization" and "intersectionality" at their behest. This is not true. The notion that we needed Florida to enlighten us that these terms are politicized in several states is ridiculous. We took a hard look at these terms because they often are misunderstood, misrepresented, and co-opted as political weapons. Instead we focused throughout the framework on providing concrete examples of these important concepts. Florida is attempting to claim a political victory by taking credit retroactively for changes we ourselves made but that they never suggested to us.