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College Board fires back at Florida's rejection of AP African-American studies course

Gov. DeSantis says they may re-evaluate the state's relationship with the College Board in the wake of the controversy.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla — In the latest chapter of a contentious exchange, the College Board is firing back against the Florida Department of Education calling their characterization of course materials “slander” and politically motivated.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration rejected the initial framework from being taught in the state more than a week ago. The Florida Department of Education highlighted specific issues with proposed sections on Black queer studies, reparations, the Black Lives Matter movement and activism, saying the proposed topics amount to indoctrination, not education.

The College Board released a lengthy statement on Saturday saying the state is trying to use changes to the curriculum in an AP African-American Studies course to score a political victory.

"We deeply regret not immediately denouncing the Florida Department of Education’s slander, magnified by the DeSantis administration’s subsequent comments, that African American Studies 'lacks educational value,'" the statement reads in part. "Our failure to raise our voice betrayed Black scholars everywhere and those who have long toiled to build this remarkable field."

DeSantis addressed the back-and-forth in a press conference Monday.

"At the end of the day, we highlighted things that were very problematic," DeSantis said. "It wasn't just people like me saying that across the political spectrum, people were saying that like, you know, this really is junk. Why don't we just do and teach the things that matter?"

In a lengthy five-bullet point statement the College Board said they were never in negotiations with the state regarding the content of the course.

"We had no negotiations about the content of this course with Florida or any other state, nor did we receive any requests, suggestions, or feedback," College Board said, in part.

DeSantis hinted Monday the state may look elsewhere for educational services.

“They've provided these AP courses for a long time. But you know, there is probably some other vendors who may be able to do that job as good or maybe even a lot better," DeSantis said. "So I've already talked with Paul, and I think the legislature is going to look to reevaluate kind of how Florida is doing that."

For their part, the College Board says changes like making contemporary issues like Black Lives Matter optional, and removing critical race theory were in the works long before the state’s complaints.

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