DeSantis’ Administration Blocks an African American Course in Florida

DeSantis
DeSantis
Courtesy of Gage Skidmore (Flickr CC0)

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ administration has blocked an African American history class that was set to be part of Advanced Placement courses in the state’s high schools. The state’s Department of Education outlined its intent to stop the course in a letter to the College Board on January 12.

The African American course is being rolled out in a pilot program across the nation in 60 high schools. Florida officials didn’t specify what laws the program breaks.

DeSantis’ Administrations Standpoint

DeSantis’ spokesperson, Bryan Griffin, gave a statement to the media. He stated that the AP course “leaves large, ambiguous gaps that can be filled with additional ideological material, which we will not allow.”

“If the College Board amends the course to comply, provides a full course curriculum, and incorporates historically accurate content, then the Department will reconsider the course for approval,” added the spokesperson.

The U.S. College Board responded by saying the AP course is “undergoing a rigorous, multi-year pilot phase.” They are gathering feedback from students, scholars, teachers, and policymakers.

The AP studies course covers more than 400 years of African American history. It touches on topics like political science, literature, and geography.

Many politicians and others have criticized DeSantis’ administration for blocking the AP African American course. However, they allow other AP courses, like European History and several language and culture courses.

Democrat Shevrin Jones tweeted that it was “crazy” the AP course “made the chopping block in” Florida.

DeSantis Signed the Law

Last year, DeSantis signed the “Stop W.O.K.E. Act” into law. It prevents Florida faculty from presenting certain viewpoints related to sex and race. W.O.K.E. is an acronym that stands for “Wrong to our Kids and Employees.” It is also known as the Individual Freedom Act (IFA).

Under this law, no one is allowed to teach or instruct another that “espouses, promotes, advances, inculcates, or compels” employees or students to believe any of the eight concepts.

Eight Concepts

  1. Members of any one race, national origin, color, or sex are morally superior to other members of sex, color, national origin, or race.
  2. An individual by virtue of her or his color, race, sex, or national origin is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.
  3. A person’s status or moral character as either privileged or oppressed is necessarily determined by her or his national origin, sex, race, or color.
  4. Individuals of one national origin, race, sex, or color cannot and should not attempt to treat others without respect to sex, race, color, or national origin.
  5. An individual by virtue of their race, color, national origin, or sex bears responsibility for or should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment because of actions committed in the past by other members of the same race, color, national origin, or sex.
  6. A person, by virtue of his or her race, color, national origin, or sex should be discriminated against or received adverse treatment to achieve diversity, equity, or inclusion.
  7. An individual by virtue of her or his race, color, sex, or national origin, bears personal responsibility for and must feel guilt, anguish, or other forms of psychological distress because of actions, in which the person played no part, committed in the past by other members of the same race, color, national origin, or sec.
  8. Such virtues as merit, excellence, hard work, fairness, neutrality, objectivity, and racial colorblindness are racist or sexist or were created by members of a particular race, color, national origin, or sex to oppress members of another race, color, national origin, or sex.

Viewpoints

Many people are not impressed by the laws DeSantis’ is signing. They feel he and his administration are taking Florida backward in time.

DeSantis stated, “In Florida, we are taking a stand against the state-sanctioned racism that is critical race theory.” However, the developers of the AP course told Time magazine the African American study doesn’t teach “critical race theory.”

By Sheena Robertson

Sources:

BBC: Ron DeSantis government bans new advanced African American history course
ABC News: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration rejects African American AP course
The First Amendment Encyclopedia: Stop W.O.K.E Act (Florida) (2022)

Top and Featured Image Courtesy of Gage Skidmore‘s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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