The Phoenix Flyer

DeSantis’ rejected AP African American course continues to alarm civil rights groups

By: - January 27, 2023 4:02 pm

Advocates and Black leaders in the Florida Legislature gathered at the Capitol on Jan. 25, 2023 to push back against the DeSantis administration’s rejection of an AP African American pilot history course. Credit: Issac Morgan

The well-known civil rights organization group NAACP is alarmed by the DeSantis administration’s rejection of a college-level high school course on African American studies and will be holding a press conference in Orlando Saturday to speak out against what they call an attempt to erase black history.

According to a press release this week, the NAACP will “discuss plans to ensure students receive an accurate teaching of our nation’s rich history while holding the Florida government accountable for spreading hateful and untrue rhetoric about the study of Black history.”

Adora Nweze, the president of the NAACP Florida State Conference, said in a written statement: “We will not allow the DeSantis Administration and the Florida Department of Education to hold our history hostage and deny Black Floridians the opportunity to learn about Black history and culture.”

She continued: “In this attempt to whitewash history, the Florida DOE has failed to uphold its responsibility to provide students with an accurate and comprehensive education and disrespected the generations of Black scholars who have fought to develop this critically important area of study.”

At issue is a pilot program for Advanced Placement African American studies course, issued through the nonprofit College Board. High school students can take AP courses to receive college credits before graduating.

In mid-January, the Florida Department of Education rejected the AP pilot course, claiming that the course is “inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value.”

The College Board has since stated that it plans to release an “official” framework for the AP African American studies course on Feb. 1. The new framework may have changes made to the course, but it is currently unclear if anything in the course was impacted by the Florida Department of Education’s criticisms.

The NAACP is not the only one speaking out against the decision to reject the course.

Ben Crump, a renowned civil rights lawyer who has represented families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others, is poised to sue Gov. Ron DeSantis if the Florida Department of Education does not implement the AP African American studies course.

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Danielle J. Brown
Danielle J. Brown

Danielle J. Brown is a 2018 graduate of Florida State University. She has served as an editorial intern for International Program’s annual magazine and Rowland Publishing. She was born and raised in Tallahassee and reviews community theater productions for the Tallahassee Democrat.