AP African American Studies Revised after Criticism

On Feb. 1, The College Board posted the updated curriculum of its AP African American Studies course, displaying that some of the content that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and his administration had criticized, had been removed or revised. 

The bulk of what has been cut from the curriculum includes content associated with the Black Lives Matter movement, the queer experience, and other debatable and ineffective topics. The DOE had demanded that once these “woke” aspects had been removed from the curriculum, it could be taught in Florida high schools. 

DeSantis has made his support for the DOE clear in rejecting the first version of the course, but many people are accusing him of “erasing” Black history or “whitewashing” education. However, this is not the case. 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis states that the original course was pushing an agenda and announces, “This course on Black history, what’s one of the lessons about? Queer theory. Now, who would say that an important part of Black history is queer theory? That is somebody pushing an agenda on our kids. And so when you look to see they have stuff about intersectionality, abolishing prisons, that’s a political agenda.”

Many lawmakers also claim that the course is “historically inaccurate” and contains material rooted in Critical Race Theory. The White House, in response to Florida’s disapproval of some aspects of the course, claims that he is blocking the study of Black Americans. But, many people believe it is obvious that the course is attempting to shoehorn activist and queer theory ideology into history.

The New York Times reports, “The College Board purged the names of many Black writers and scholars associated with critical race theory, the queer experience, and Black feminism. It ushered out some politically fraught topics, like Black Lives Matter, from the formal curriculum.”

David Coleman, head of the College Board, told the New York Times that these revisions were not made in response to political pressure, but rather, “in response to the input of professors and long-standing AP principals.”

DeSantis has made it clear that he wants Black education in schools and in his statement. He didn’t denounce Black history, but rather queer theory and controversial topics such as abolishing prisons. Parents and lawmakers all across the nation are raising the question of why these things are showing up in places they shouldn’t and expressing that it is not age appropriate. 

As of now, the course takes students through early African kingdoms, the slave trade, the Civil Rights movement, and the modern-day “Black Power and Black Pride.”

The first three-quarters of the course are very rigorous and well thought-out, but in about 1960, the curriculum becomes drowned with activism and ideology. The focus of the course becomes white supremacy and patriarchy and opinion-based topics that frankly, fail to reflect Black Americans. 

The AP African American studies course is currently being tested at 60 high schools across the nation and will be expanded to hundreds more in the following years. Schools in the U.S. can begin offering this course in the 2024-2025 school year.