The administration of Ron DeSantis has outlawed a new advanced course in African American history

image of Ron DeSantis

A new advanced high school course that teaches African American history has been stopped by Florida officials.

The proposed course "lacks educational value and violates Florida law," according to the administration of Governor Ron DeSantis.

The US College Board is introducing the course in a pilot program to 60 high schools across the nation.

Officials omitted to say which law the course violates.

In a letter dated January 12 to the College Board, the Florida Department of Education stated that the course violates state law and that it intends to block it.

The letter stated that the Department of Education "will always be willing to reopen the discussion" if the College Board were to return to the table in the future with legal, historically accurate content.

The first new course offered by the College Board since 2014 is the Advanced Placement (AP) African American studies course. More than 400 years of African American history will be covered, with references to literature, political science, and geography.

The program is a part of a larger AP initiative in US high schools that allows students to enroll in college-level courses before they graduate.

The course "leaves large, ambiguous gaps that can be filled with additional ideological material, which we will not allow," a spokesperson for Republican governor of Florida Ron DeSantis said in a statement.

In a statement to the media, spokesperson Bryan Griffin said that the Department would reevaluate the course's approval if the College Board changed the course to comply, provided a complete course curriculum, and included historically accurate content.

In response, the College Board stated that the program is "undergoing a rigorous, multi-year pilot phase, collecting feedback from teachers, students, scholars, and policymakers.".

The board stated, "We look forward to providing students across the nation with this rich and inspiring exploration of African-American history and culture.".

The National Parents Union is incensed by the decision to forbid the African American studies course, calling it a "direct attack on the Black and all (Black, Indigenous, and Persons of Color) communities.".

The group said, adding that they will appeal the decision, "This behavior is dangerous and should concern every American.".

Shevrin Jones, a Democrat and state senator from Florida, criticized the ban as well, writing on Twitter that other AP courses, such as European History and a number of language and culture courses, are still taught in the state.

In Florida, AP African-American studies were eliminated, which Mr. Jones called "crazy.".

A "Stop WOKE" law that governs how racial and gender-based lessons are taught in Florida schools was passed by Governor DeSantis last year.

Mr. DeSantis referred to the academic framework that indicates the existence of systemic racism in American society and said, "In Florida, we are taking a stand against the state-sanctioned racism that is critical race theory.

However, one of the course's creators previously admitted to Time magazine that the course does not teach "critical race theory.".

Instead, Henry-Louis Gates Jr., a renowned expert on African American history in the US, claimed that the course "is a mainstream, rigorously vetted, academic approach to a vibrant field of study.".

In terms of contentious conservative issues, Ron DeSantis has been building up the kind of track record that might serve as the foundation of a presidential campaign later this year.

He frequently criticized government regulations intended to stop the spread of COVID-19, and he has since expanded his criticism to include the creation of coronavirus vaccines. He lambasted large corporations for pandering to liberal interests and ideologies, including Florida's Disney. Against conservatives, he claims, social media platforms are biased.

But education is the subject Mr. DeSantis seems to be most interested in. He fervently supported state legislation that prohibited teachers from discussing LGBTQ issues in their classes. He has backed conservative candidates for local school boards and named contentious conservative activists as university trustees. He has demanded that transgender athletes be prohibited from competing in interscholastic sports.

This larger picture is only partially explained by his most recent action, which was to prevent the use of an advanced African American Studies curriculum in Florida public high schools. If Mr. DeSantis runs for president, his message to primary voters will be that he is the Republican who actually acts on conservative issues—the kind of culture-war red meat that is a mainstay on right-wing media outlets.

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