On Wednesday February 1, the college board agreed to move forward with plans on establishing and teaching an advance placement (AP)course on African American Studies. This comes after Florida Officials originally rejected the proposal for this course and asked for it to be revised, they were backed by Governor Ron DeSantis who didn’t approve of the course, he called it a form of “Progressive Indoctrination”.
However, another Governor thinks very differently on the situation. Governor J.B Pritzker urged the college board to hold it’s standing with the course and not make any changes because of how others feel about it. Pritzker took it a step further by sending a letter to the college board telling them that if they did revise it, Illinois would reject it. Pritzker believes the college board shouldn’t have to listen and obey to DeSantis and Florida’s opinions.
But after all that, a revised version of the course was still submitted. The course was kept primarily the same but now has omitted certain people from history that could be considered as “Left leaning”. Some of the people who have been removed include Kimberlé W. Crenshaw, she was a scholar and writer that did a lot of work involve civil rights and critical race theory. Another that has been removed was Angela Davis, she was a political activist who was known for her membership in the Communist and Black Panther parties.
When the college board was asked about the changes, it denied being responsible behind the change in the course. It was stated in an internal document that many of the changes made to the course were already long in motion before DeSantis and the Controversy that has spiraled from this issue.
An earlier version of the course plan from 2022 was detailed to talk about topics such as Black Lives Matter and the Reparations movement, however it was soon changed to allow students to have more time when it came to doing in-depth projects that they got to choose their topic for. It was here that eventually the college board move the topics involved in this course to the long list of options for topics when it came to Independent Studies.
The course itself wants to immerse students into the topics of Black history and culture. Up until this AP course plan, these type of class topics along with other topics involving race and racism were usually only seen around the country on College Campuses. The class is planned to touch on a variety of major topics ranging from the origins of the African Diaspora to Jim Crow laws and the civil rights movement.
David Coleman, the chief executive of the College Board which oversees the AP program stated how if you read the framework for the course: “You will find there, if you read it, a remarkable encounter with the full range of the Black community.”
The course is currently being tried out by 60 different high schools around the country, this course was specifically designed under consultation with 300 professors and is aimed to resemble an introductory college course. Coleman also stated that the official debut of the plan would coincide with the start of black history month and also in this same year would be the 60th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech.
Some professors have every much stated their opinion on what they think of DeSantis’s response to this course. Robert J. Patterson, a professor of African American Studies at Georgetown University was someone who co-chaired a committee that played a part in developing the course.
Patterson stated: “If there’s any indoctrination happening, it’s his political indoctrination, not in the course.”
Written by: Charles Buckley