TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — In a recent letter to the College Board, the Florida Department of Education said it will not include Advanced Placement African American Studies courses in high schools across the state.
The Jan. 12 letter from The Office of Articulation said, “as presented, the content of this course is inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value.”
Cassie Palelis, a spokesperson for the Florida Department of Education, said in an email to 10 Investigates, “In its current form, the College Board’s AP African American Studies course lacks educational value and is contrary to Florida law. If the course comes into compliance and incorporates historically accurate content, the Department will reopen the discussion.”
10 Investigates asked the Florida DOE for clarification on what is historically inaccurate about the course. The DOE has not yet responded.
The rejection of this course comes amid conservative pushback against conversations on race and its role in American history. Governor Ron DeSantis has led the charge with the “Stop WOKE Act,” which the state touts as “the strongest legislation of its kind in the nation” that will “take on both corporate wokeness and Critical Race Theory.”
This comes despite critical race theory never being taught in any Florida public school.
Zebbie Atkinson IV, president of the Clearwater/Upper Pinellas NAACP, said the move to not include AP African American studies is shameful.
“It’s a shame that Governor DeSantis’ regime doesn’t want to tell the complete history of America, which does include African American and the trials and tribulations that we’ve gone through from being African to African American,” he said.
10 Investigates also reached out to the College Board, which administers the SAT and oversees AP courses. It responded:
"Like all new AP courses, AP African American Studies is undergoing a rigorous, multi-year pilot phase, collecting feedback from teachers, students, scholars and policymakers. The process of piloting and revising course frameworks is a standard part of any new AP course, and frameworks often change significantly as a result.
"We will publicly release the updated course framework when it is completed and well before this class is widely available in American high schools. We look forward to bringing this rich and inspiring exploration of African-American history and culture to students across the country."
Emerald Morrow is an investigative reporter with 10 Tampa Bay. Like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter. You can also email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.