Florida governor Ron DeSantis on Monday doubled down on his decision not to approve the pilot Advanced Placement African American Studies course for high school or college credit.
“In the state of Florida, our education standards not only don’t prevent but they require teaching Black history, all the important things. That’s part of our core curriculum,” DeSantis said at a press conference.
“This was a separate course on top of that for Advanced Placement credit, and the issue is we have guidelines and standards in Florida,” he continued. “We want education, not indoctrination. If you fall on the side of indoctrination, we’re going to decline. If it’s education, then we will do it.”
DeSantis said he suspected when the state rejected the class that critical race theory had been incorporated into it, but upon further review, he discovered even more problematic ideological material.
“What’s one of the lessons about? Queer theory,” DeSantis said. “Now, who would say that an important part of Black history is queer theory? That is somebody pushing an agenda on our kids. And so when you look to see they have stuff about intersectionality, abolishing prisons, that’s a political agenda.”
The governor reiterated that Florida education aims to teach children critical-thinking skills and objectivity. “When you try to use Black history to shoehorn in queer theory, you are clearly trying to use that for political purposes,” he said.
The College Board hasn’t made the curriculum for the class public, but a Florida publication obtained a copy and posted it online last week.
On January 12, DeSantis sent a rejection letter to the College Board, stating that, “as presented, the content of this course is inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value.” The administration effectively determined that the class violated Florida’s Stop WOKE Act, which prohibits schools and companies from inserting critical race theory into student curricula or staff programming. The letter kept the door open for the College Board to propose a revised class with “lawful, historically accurate content” in the future.
The White House has criticized DeSantis for refusing to accept the course, with press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre lashing out Friday over his “incomprehensible” move.
“It is incomprehensible to see that this is what this ban — or this block, to be more specific — that DeSantis has put forward. If you think about the study of Black Americans, that is what he wants to block and, again, these types of actions aren’t new, especially from what we’re seeing from Florida, sadly,” Jean-Pierre told the press.