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What Changed in the New AP African American Studies Curriculum — and Will Florida Allow It?

The College Board announced a new framework for its AP African American Studies course, which is a high school elective.

Last year, the Florida Department of Education canceled the pilot version of the class, with the governor saying it had too much “woke” indoctrination.

“We believe in teaching kids facts and how to think but we don’t believe they should have an agenda imposed on them,” Governor Ron DeSantis said at the time.

“This course is not indoctrination, no AP course are indoctrination,” said Dr. Brandi Waters of the College Board. “I think this course is really special because it really aims to show folks there are many debates within this field, it is constantly evolving.”

Waters led the effort to revamp the course. She said the new curriculum changes were inspired by feedback from hundreds of students and educators, not by the State of Florida’s criticisms.

“So across the country, we heard from students saying I want to hear more about the African American contribution to sports, hip hop, science, technology, the arts, and that’s what you’ll see in this version of the framework, many more of those fundamental concepts,” Waters said.

The College Board eliminated a unit on the Black queer experience, and it moved the discussion of Black Lives Matter and slavery reparations to an optional section.

These changes might make the course more palatable to the Florida Department of Education, but they’re drawing the ire of Black history advocate, Dr. Marvin Dunn.

“Black Lives Matter is important, who gets to say that our kids can’t be taught that except as some sort of optional offering, so I’m not satisfied with this and I don’t think most Black people in the state are gonna be satisfied with this,” said Dunn, who is professor emeritus at Florida International University.

The new framework still includes a discussion of the concept of intersectionality and some authors of whom the state disapproves.

“They tried to split the baby and they killed it,” Dunn said. “This kind of overreach by politicians into education is destroying and killing education in Florida and the College Board is not helping by accommodating complaints by right-wing politicians like DeSantis.”

Waters points out the Black community does not have monolithic views, and hopes every state offers AP African American Studies next school year.

“What we hope they do in this class is gain the critical analysis skills to develop their own opinions,” Waters said. “I really hope that any student that’s interested in this course has the opportunity to choose it.”

Source: NBC Miami