By Megan Guerrero
Florida governor Ron DeSantis rejected the piloting of Advanced Placement African American studies from being taught in Florida for “holding a political agenda” within the initial course framework, including topics such as “queer theory” and “prison abolition,” DeSantis claimed in a statement last month.
“That’s a political agenda, and that’s the wrong side of the line for Florida standards,” DeSantis said during his speech in Jacksonville. “We believe in teaching kids facts and how to think, but we don’t believe they should have an agenda imposed on them when you try to use Black history to shoehorn in queer theory, you are clearly trying to use that for political purposes.”
The conference was his first public statement following DeSantis’ letter to the College Board under the Florida Department of Education’s Office of Articulation (FDOE), saying that the course broke Florida law, lacked educational value, and was historically inaccurate. DeSantis said he would be willing to reopen the discussion of AP African American studies if the College Board were to fix these concerns.
In an earlier statement to CNN, the FDOE said they were concerned with six topics of study in the course including the Movement for Black Lives, Black feminism and reparations.
According to the College Board’s description of AP African American Studies, the course aims to expand the advanced coursework of the contributions, history, and experiences of African diaspora throughout the history of the United States. The updated official course framework no longer included topics regarding the “Movement for Black Lives” and “The Case for Reparations.” Additionally, the course no longer includes any of the authors listed as “concerning” by Florida education officials in the required readings.
The ban sparked major controversy in not just Florida, but the whole nation. Three high schoolers from Florida threatened to sue DeSantis if he refuses to repeal the rejection of the course, according to NPR.
High profile civil rights lawyer Ben Crump has also volunteered to file the lawsuit on behalf of the students, and the students would potentially serve as the plaintiffs for the case.
“We’re here to give notice to Gov. DeSantis that if he does not negotiate with the College Board to allow AP African American studies to be taught in the classrooms across the state of Florida that these three young people will be the lead plaintiffs in a historic lawsuit,” Crump said during “Stop the Black Attack” rally last month.
One of the students who intends on suing DeSantis, Elijah Edwards, emphasized the importance of the curriculum, and that DeSantis has the power to work with the College Board to approve the course for schools.
“This is what it’s about, it’s about [the students], this is what the fight is for,” Crump said. “Never ever forget that.”