Florida Halts AP African American Studies Program, Claiming It “Lacks Educational Value”

Florida governor Ron DeSantis has blocked the College Board from moving forth with an Advanced Placement African American Studies program.

Florida governor Ron DeSantis has continued to push his ‘Stop W.O.K.E.’ initiative. The state has blocked the College Board from moving forth with pilot testing for Advanced Placement African American Studies (APAAS) curriculum. According to a letter obtained by National Review, Florida’s Department of Education’s Office of Articulation says that the APAAS curriculum “is inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value.”

The letter goes on to state that “in the future, should College Board be willing to come back to the table with lawful, historically accurate content, FDOE will always be willing to reopen the discussion.” While details of the course are under wraps, in August, Florida educator Marlon Williams-Clark told NPR that it focused on the introduction of Black studies and the many backgrounds and cultures that make up Black identity in the United States. Tested at 60 schools in the United States, the course seeks to study the African diaspora in the U.S., making an entry during a widespread ban of critical race theory (CRT) in grades K-12.

When asked about Florida’s attempt to ban conversations about race in classrooms, Williams-Clark said they would abide by state regulations.

“Well, the law is the law. And it’s not really my place to give my opinion on it, as far as when I’m dealing with the students,” he said. “I let them know, point-blank, there may be some topics in which it is a thin line and that we’ll just have to be careful how we talk about some things and how we approach some subjects.”

Signed into law by DeSantis in 2022, the Stop W.O.K.E. Act prohibits instruction on race relations or diversity that indicates a person’s “status as either privileged or oppressed is necessarily determined by his or her race, color, national origin, or sex.” The bill also disallows schools and workplaces from “subjecting any student or employee to training or instruction that espouses, promotes, advances, inculcates, or compels such individuals to believe specified concepts constitutes discrimination based on race, color, sex, or national origin.”

Jaelani Turner-Williams

Jaelani Turner-Williams is a contributing news writer for Okayplayer with bylines at Billboard, MTV News, NYLON, Recording Academy and more. Read her mind on Twitter at @hernameisjae.

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Jaelani Turner-Williams

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