AP Black History Course Loses BLM Content

College Board CEO says finalized version wasn't a response to political pressure
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 1, 2023 1:28 PM CST
AP Black History Course Is Revised After Criticism
Emmitt Glynn teaches AP African American studies to a group of Baton Rouge Magnet High School students on Monday, Jan. 30, 2023 in Baton Rouge, La. Baton Rouge Magnet High School in Louisiana is one of 60 schools around the country testing the new course.   (AP Photo/Stephen Smith)

A Jan. 12 letter from the Florida Department of Education to the College Board didn't specify which sections it found objectionable in the draft version of new Advanced Placement course on African American studies it was blocking from state high schools—but it's possible those parts have now changed. The College Board on Wednesday released the official curriculum for the course, and the New York Times reports the updated version has been stripped of references to "Black writers and scholars associated with critical race theory, the queer experience, and Black feminism." Topics like Black Lives Matter and reparations are no longer part of the formal curriculum but are now listed as suggested topics for a mandatory research project; "Black conservatism" was added to that list.

In blocking the course from Florida schools, Gov. Ron DeSantis' administration faulted the pilot program content for being "historically inaccurate" and "inexplicably contrary to Florida law." But College Board CEO David Coleman indicated Florida's reaction didn't drive the changes, which he said came from "the input of professors" and "longstanding AP principles": "At the College Board, we can’t look to statements of political leaders." He detailed a decision to remove "quite dense" secondary sources that didn't resonate with students during a trial of the course; the AP reports it's being tested at 60 US schools.

Meanwhile, DeSantis on Tuesday announced plans to block state colleges from having programs on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and critical race theory (CRT). The AP quotes his office as saying the proposal "raises the standards of learning" in the state by "prohibiting higher education institutions from using any funding, regardless of source, to support DEI, CRT, and other discriminatory initiatives." (More Florida stories.)

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