The College Board has stripped away vital elements of its African-American Studies curriculum after backlash from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Initially announced in August 2022, the high school A.P. class would explore the Black Lives Matter Movement, critical race theory, little-known African-American leaders, Black queer and feminist experiences, Black scholars, and so much more. Scholars of color hailed the course as a treasure trove of African-American knowledge that all should learn more about. Sady, Gov. DeSantis slammed the coursework, and other conservatives quickly followed suit.
In January, DeSantis announced that he would ban the curriculum, which was supposed to be taught in Florida’s public high schools throughout the upcoming school year. After reviewing the rough draft, state education officials felt that the material wasn’t accurate, even accusing The College Board of violating a state law that mandates how race is taught in public schools. Another roadblock for the Board was the elimination of critical race theory in schools across several states.
In a sign of defeat, the Board released its final draft on Wednesday, which removed several of the most anticipated components. The items that DeSantis was most concerned about were all stripped from the 234-page class overview. All references to BLM, Black Queer Studies, and reparations for slavery were gone. Instead, it added something called “Black conservatism,” which is a research project topic. The College Board said no school districts reviewed the final draft before it was released.
Black leaders spoke out almost immediately to slam the new curriculum, which seemingly crumbled under pressures from Republicans. Georgetown University, Robert J. Patterson, who teaches African American Studies and helped develop the lesson, was saddened by the updated outline. At the same time, Democratic Florida Senator Shevrin Jones called it a “systematic attack on public education” at the hands of Florida’s governor.
“This is part of a larger war on our very ability to think, question, and engage in our democracy. It is a national attempt to redirect how students learn,” Jones stated.