College Board adjusts AP African American Studies course in response to backlash from Florida

The new AP course reworked some of its more controversial curriculum in response to criticism from Florida Gov. DeSantis


The African American Studies course will move into its pilot year in 23-24

August Hobbs, Assistant Editor, News

The Florida Department of Education announced that Florida high schools would not be allowing the new AP African American Studies course offered by the College Board in a letter put out on January 12.

In that letter, the Florida Department of Education stated that the “course is inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value.’’ Last year, Florida Governor Ron Desantis signed the STOP WOKE Act which forbids the teaching of subjects that could cause a student to feel responsible for the past actions of their race or sex, according to the New York Times.

The College Board website states that the class is “ [An] interdisciplinary course [that] reaches into a variety of fields—literature, the arts and humanities, political science, geography, and science—to explore the vital contributions and experiences of African Americans. ”

In an official statement put out by College Board, the organization stated that “​​Many AP courses, especially those based in history and culture, deal with contested topics. The AP Program navigates those challenging waters by relying on our AP Principles. These principles make it abundantly clear that we stand against censorship and indoctrination equally.’’

AP African American Studies is the newest edition to the over 30 AP classes College Board offers. College Board has been running a pilot for the class over the past few years in a select number of high schools across the country, including at least one Florida high school, according to NPR

In response to the backlash, “The College Board purged the names of many Black writers and scholars associated with critical race theory, the queer experience and Black feminism. It ushered out some politically fraught topics, like Black Lives Matter, from the formal curriculum. And it added something new: “Black conservatism” is now offered as an idea for a research project,’’ according to an article by the New York Times.

 On February 1, the College Board released the official curriculum for their AP African American Studies class with a number of additions and changes made to the content of the curriculum. 

“I think it’s wrong, [they] should not be allowed to… prevent people from learning history,’’ junior Emani Deshield said. “I hope that [with this course] people will learn more about African American history… and become more aware.’’ 

AP African American Studies is set to be available for all schools nationwide for the 2024-2025 school year, but the future of this course in Florida schools is still uncertain since they have yet to make a comment since the course has been revised. 

RV has been chosen as one of 24 schools to pilot the AP African American Studies course next year. The course will become available for rising seniors to enroll in and will include history, literature and contemporary conversations about Black life, politics and culture.