Backlash grows against DeSantis decision to block AP African American Studies class


Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis faces growing opposition to his administration’s decision to ban advanced placement courses in African American studies in high schools, as black leaders rallied in the capital, a prominent A civil rights lawyer threatened to sue, and state lawmakers urged him to reverse the decision.

On Wednesday, attorney Ben Crump accused DeSantis of violating the federal and state constitutions by refusing to approve the course. His legal team noted that a federal judge found a 2010 Arizona law banning Mexican-American studies programs in Tucson schools unconstitutional and that officials acted “out of racial hostility.”

The state Department of Education argued that the curriculum “inexplicably violates Florida law.” A new education law championed by DeSantis requires that race be taught in “objectives” and “not be used to indoctrinate or persuade students to accept a particular point of view.” Some education advocates and teachers say the law’s framework So broad that it has a chilling effect on the teaching of black history.

“If he doesn’t negotiate with the College Board to allow AP African American Studies to be taught in classrooms across Florida, these three young men will be lead plaintiffs in a historic lawsuit,” Crump said before introducing the students.

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Crump has been involved in several high-profile civil rights cases involving black Americans and has vowed that DeSantis “cannot kill our culture.”

The latest controversy over Florida education policy began this month when the DeSantis administration said the state Department of Education would not approve the Black History Pilot Advanced Placement course because it violated state law and “Lack of educational value.”

The state Department of Education lists “focus” in the curriculum, including topics covering “intersectionality and activism,” “Black Feminist Literary Theory,” and “Black Queer Studies.”

“Who’s going to say now that an important part of black history is queer theory?” DeSantis said at a news conference this week. “That’s somebody pushing our kids’ agenda.”

But critics of the governor say the governor has made eliminating what he calls “wake-up indoctrination” in schools and businesses a key part of his platform, a course he says he doesn’t allow to be taught in Florida unfairly targets black history . The DeSantis administration has not reviewed other AP courses, such as European history.

The “official framework” for the curriculum, which will replace the pilot program and incorporate feedback from high schools and colleges, will be released on Feb. 1, the College Board said in a news release Tuesday. It did not mention the views of public officials.

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Spokesperson for the College Board declined to comment on whether the curriculum was adjusted in response to the concerns of the DeSantis administration. AP courses take two to six years to develop and are “reviewed periodically thereafter,” according to the board.

Alex Lanfranconi, a spokesman for the Florida Department of Education, said in a statement that the government was “pleased to see the College Board express a willingness to make changes.” He added that the state would reconsider approving the new curriculum after reviewing it.

“We look forward to reviewing the College Board’s changes and want to remove content on critical race theory, Black queer studies, intersectionality and other topics that violate our laws,” Lanfranconi said.

Meanwhile, dozens of people gathered at a “Stop Black Attacks” rally in Tallahassee, organized by the voting rights advocacy group Equal Ground. Several speakers accused DeSantis of seeking to further marginalize the state’s black community while in office. State Senator Shevrin Jones (D) said DeSantis should address issues such as “creaking schools, dilapidated buildings in our neighborhood” and high property insurance costs.

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“These are issues that are being ignored because we have to deal with the promotion of Jim Crow 3.0 by people who don’t understand and don’t care what’s going on in the black community, but they want to referee how you teach our history,” Jones said.

DeSantis has said he wants students to study black history — which they are required to do by law — but has been charged Teachers who instill in their students believe in a “sane ideology”.

Leaders of the state House Black Caucus are planning to work with national civil rights groups to provide more educational opportunities around black history so students “don’t have to wait for the state or the governor to learn the value of their history,” the lawmakers said in a statement this week. said the statement.

State Rep. Michelle Rayner (D) said DeSantis was conducting a political “witch hunt” that violated Florida students’ freedom to study — and students know it.

“They know it’s not a secret to delete history,” Rainer said. “There are 2.8 million students in Florida’s public schools who know the governor doesn’t want them to learn about black history.”


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