There is more debate over the AP African American Studies course that was shut down by the Florida Department of Education earlier this month.
Over the weekend, the college board responded to the DOE and their decision, saying in part, “We deeply regret not immediately denouncing the Florida Department of Education’s slander magnified by the DeSantis administration’s subsequent comments, that African American studies ‘Lacks educational value.’”
The governor was in Collier County on Monday and commented on the DOE’s decision. “We were just the only ones that had the backbone to stand up and do it because they call you names, and they demagogue you when you do it. But look, I’m so sick of people not doing what’s right because they’re worried that people are going to call them names,” said DeSantis.
WINK News spoke to the National Black Justice Coalition for their take on the back & forth. They say the statement from the College Board is too little, too late.
“We have made the mistake of treating FDOE with the courtesy. They have instead exploited this courtesy for their political agenda,” said the College Board in their statement about the DOE decision.
The College Board again took issue with the state’s contention that Florida forced the board to change its new African American Studies class designed for high schoolers.
No one from the college board would talk with WINK News, but David Jones with the National Black Justice Coalition did.
“It feels like gaslighting. Beyond that, it’s still too little too late,” said Jones.
Jones said the College Board should have immediately denounced Florida’s DOE and the governor himself for saying the proposed African American Studies course “Lacks educational value” and violates state law.
For example, the study of “Queer theory” and political movements that advocate for “Abolishing prisons.”
The board made changes but says not at the request of the DOE: “Florida is attempting to claim a political victory by taking credit retroactively for changes we ourselves made. But that they never suggested to us.”
Now the National Black Justice Coalition believes the CEO of the College Board needs to resign.
“If David Coleman is unwilling or unable to lead an institution, a nonprofit institution that has a mission and supports values around academic freedom, educational integrity, and it’s not demonstrating it, then I don’t understand why he has the ability to lead or the opportunity to lead or the privilege to lead,” said Jones.
WINK News asked DeSantis about the College Board’s letter during his visit to Collier County on Monday.
The governor called the African American Studies course “Junk.” He said the College Board’s original framework for the course included what he called “neo-Marxist” themes like queer theory and intersectionality, and that’s a no-go in Florida.
“Our Department of Education looked at that and said, in Florida, we do education, not indoctrination. And so that runs afoul of our standards. And you know, many people agree with that. Why don’t we just do and teach the things that matter? Why is it always someone has to try to jam their agenda down our throats?” said DeSantis.
DeSantis also said Florida is the only state to stand up to the College Board and that he’s not afraid to do what’s right.
The governor hinted the state might look at other companies to provide a curriculum to Florida’s public schools.