Facing pressure from the governors of Florida and Illinois, the College Board is preparing to unveil a new framework Wednesday for its Advanced Placement African American Studies course.
“To develop this official course framework, the AP Program consulted with more than 300 professors of African American Studies from more than 200 colleges nationwide, including dozens of Historically Black Colleges and Universities,” read a letter from the College Board to its members and obtained by Inside Higher Ed Thursday. “The course focuses on the topics where professors shared a strong consensus on the essential shared events, experiences, and individuals crucial to a study of African American history and culture. This process was completed in December 2022. To be clear, no states or districts have seen the official framework that will be released on February 1, much less provided feedback on it.”
Earlier this month the Florida Department of Education, under Republican governor Ron DeSantis, announced that public schools in the state will not be allowed to offer the AP African American Studies course, declaring that it “lacks educational value.” In a letter to the College Board, state officials said they would be willing to consider reviving the course “should College Board be willing to come back to the table with lawful, historically accurate content.”
The move came as part of a larger effort by the DeSantis administration to control how Florida’s K-12 schools and colleges teach issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion.
Illinois governor J. B. Pritzker, a Democrat, has taken issue with the College Board for the opposite reason; he warned that the state will “reject any curriculum modifications designed to appease extremists like the Florida Governor and his allies,” according to local media reports.