Governor Ron DeSantis is receiving backlash for prohibiting an Advanced Placement (AP) course on African American studies in Florida high schools.
DeSantis and Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. discussed the issue publicly for the first time at a news conference on Monday, January 24. They concluded that the course is a Trojan horse for “indoctrinating” students with a left-wing ideology under the guise of teaching about the Black experience and African American history.
DeSantis rejects the AP African American Studies course, claiming it is “inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks education value.” The state's rejection of the AP course has become a matter of national controversy. The White House calls the move “incomprehensible” and “concerning.” Civil rights leaders are protesting the move, and three students are planning to sue both DeSantis and Florida over the rejection.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump and attorney Craig Whisenhunt are representing the AP honors high school students who are suing the state. According to ABC News. Crump at a press conference on Wednesday, January 26, 2023, said:
“If he does not negotiate with the College Board to allow AP African American studies to be taught in classrooms across the state of Florida, then these three young people will be the lead plaintiffs.”
The Florida Department of Education
The Florida Department of Education contends that the class is “inexplicably contrary to Florida law.” A new education law requires lessons on race to be taught in “an objective manner” and “not used to indoctrinate or persuade students to a particular point of view.” Some education advocates and teachers say the law is so broadly framed about the teaching of Black history.
In a statement last week, the College Board said the course was “undergoing a rigorous, multi-year pilot phase, collecting feedback from teachers, students, scholars, and policymakers.” NBC News has published the entire 29-page AP® African American Studies curriculum.
Not the first time
This is not the first time DeSantis has tried to stop the teaching of courses in his state. Last year, he signed the “Stop WOKE Act” into law, restricting race-related conversations and instruction in schools, colleges, and workplaces. The law contends that the teaching or business practices of members of one ethnic group are inherently racist that could make some people angry or feel guilty.
A temporary injunction was issued by a federal judge in November 2022 that partially blocks officials in Florida from enforcing the state’s law against mandatory workplace training about race. However, that case is still being battled in court.
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