AP African American Studies curriculum released

The College Board released the official curriculum for the new Advanced Placement African American Studies course on Feb. 1, the first day of Black History Month. While it is currently available to approximately 60 schools across the U.S. as a pilot program, the course is slated to be available to all schools in the 2024-2025 school year. The organization started piloting the course in the 2022–2023 school year in those approximately 60 schools across the U.S.

Ayana Johnson (12), president of the TPHS Black Student Union, said that this course is a welcome addition to existing history curriculums.

“Ever since I started learning about history in elementary or middle school, there always was a lack of teaching Black history,” Johnson said. “We were only really taught about slavery and its effects over centuries but didn’t expand on topics like Black Power, Black excellence or [Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion].”

According to the College Board, the course is an evidence-based introduction to the contributions and experiences of African Americans from early African societies to more recent social movements.

Despite positive reception from some students, the course has faced some backlash.

The Florida Department of Education rejected the new class in January, claiming it lacked “educational value” and was “contrary to Florida law.” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the state’s intention to ban the course from all high schools, citing that the course pushed a “political agenda.” Florida Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz Jr., who called the course “woke indoctrination masquerading as education,” posted a list of AP African American Studies topics from the pilot course and related concerns on Twitter.

“Florida is trying to minimize a topic that has already been minimized too much,” Tanay Gupte (12) said. “I think if anything, courses and opportunities like this should be amplified, and not subdued. It doesn’t make the country look good, but that shouldn’t be used as an excuse to ignore what happened and what is still happening.”

While the College Board denies allegations that the topics were removed to appease those responsible for backlash, multiple units that Diaz voiced concerns about were missing from the official course framework released in February.” These topics includedIntersectionality and Activism, Black Queer Studies, Black Feminist and Literary Thought, The Reparations

Movement and many others. Originally a topic, the Movement for Black Lives, is now listed alongside Black conservatism as an optional course project.

“I think people are uncomfortable and they don’t know how to approach and have kids learn that way of teaching,” Johnson said. “A lot of people in this world need to understand it’s okay to be uncomfortable in those situations. And it’s okay to allow yourself to learn from different social issues.”

In a statement on its official website, the College Board claims to “deeply regret not immediately denouncing the Florida Department of Education’s slander.” The statement further details the College Board’s communication with the FDOE, denouncing Florida’s “effort to engineer a political win” by claiming credit for changes made to the official framework.

TPHS BSU Vice President Nylah Knight believes the topics taken out are critical to a complete Black history.

“Black Lives Matter is what the new generation is based on. [Leaving it out] is like telling people you can’t talk about

[Martin Luther King Jr.] and what he did,” Knight said. “It’s essential to our history. I don’t think that they should leave those topics out even though they can be controversial or hard to hear.”

The FDOE rejection faced backlash from other political figures. Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker wrote a letter to the College Board, asking the organization to “preserve the fundamental right to an education that does not follow the political grandstanding of Governor DeSantis.” On Twitter, California Gov. Gavin Newsom denounced the curriculum changes, calling College Board CEO David Coleman a “puppet of Ron DeSantis.”

“The same argument could be made that not teaching the class also pushes the political agenda. We know that we have missed significant portions of African American history in our history classes over the years,” TPHS Principal Rob Coppo said. “It feels very close to censorship because it’s coming from a governor.”

According to Coppo, TPHS does not yet have plans to implement the course.

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1,017 thoughts on “AP African American Studies curriculum released

  1. I don’t think the title of your article matches the content lol. Just kidding, mainly because I had some doubts after reading the article.