DeSantis ban of AP African American course shows his true colors


Aubrey Keane

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced he will ban the curriculum for the College Board’s new Advanced Placement African American Studies course. Are we surprised? 

The new AP course began to be piloted in select schools within the U.S. and is supposed to be available to all schools by the 2024-2025 school year. According to the College Board, “The interdisciplinary course reaches into a variety of fields—literature, the arts and humanities, political science, geography, and science—to explore the vital contributions and experiences of African Americans.” 

Why put a ban on this?

DeSantis claims that the course, which took a decade to develop, “significantly lacks educational value” and dives too far into the political agenda, with its talk of queer studies and abolishing prisons.  

Clearly, this is an attempt by Florida lawmakers to whitewash history. Teaching the history of African Americans, their culture, and their contributions is just as important as teaching any other form of history. 

“The fact of the matter is, if it happened it’s history.  The history of African Americans’ challenges and contributions to our country and world are vital stories to include in our discussion as people, regardless of the ethnicities of the people who are included,” Mr. Cory Williams, AP United States History teacher said. “The stories of those who have faced obstacles, both those who have been forced to succumb to societal pressures AND those who achieved and overcame barriers, should always be worth studying in historical context.  If there is a moral to be obtained from the study of an event or era, it should be studied…regardless of whether it’s about African Americans, Anglo-Saxons, LGBTQ+ peoples, immigrants seeking refuge, or any population.” 

This isn’t much of a shock though, since just last year DeSantis passed the “Parental Rights in Education” bill, better known as the “Don’t Say Gay Bill”. This bill prohibits schools from teaching about gender identity and sexual orientation. The ban on this AP course just proves that DeSantis is willing to silence any group he doesn’t agree with or support.  

This is simply an attack on free speech within our schools. DeSantis and other Republican lawmakers are making dangerous attempts to undo the efforts of many activists over our country’s lifespan, as well as silencing minorities.  

“I don’t know how we’re supposed to grow and do better as a person or a people if we don’t have the wherewithal to analyze our past actions, and seek to improve our future selves as a result of our former mistakes…that’s literally the definition of learning,” Mr. Williams said.

In a statement addressing the conflict, the College Board said, “We had no negotiations about the content of this course with Florida or any other state, nor did we receive any requests, suggestions, or feedback.”

If Florida lawmakers were able to request things to be changed, why didn’t they? The simple answer is that they don’t want their kids to learn about the vital contributions of African Americans. Their goal is to keep the white man elevated, while silencing the rest.