College Board: We Need to 'Set the Record Straight' on Florida

Nonprofit says state's DOE is guilty of 'slander,' 'exploited' rollout of African-American AP course
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 13, 2023 8:00 AM CST
College Board: Florida DOE 'Exploited' AP Course Rollout
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a news conference on Jan. 26 in Miami.   (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier, File)

The College Board has said that political pressure from the administration of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis wasn't behind changes to an Advanced Placement course on African-American studies. Now, the nonprofit adds more context to the controversy, noting that it "made mistakes in the rollout" of the course "that are being exploited" in the name of politics, reports the Hill. "There is always debate about the content of a new AP course," the College Board says in a lengthy statement, which noted it needed to "clear the air and set the record straight." It adds, "The dialogue surrounding AP African American Studies has moved from healthy debate to misinformation."

The commotion arose last month after the Florida Department of Education blocked the pilot program from being taught in state high schools, saying a draft version showed it to be "inexplicably contrary to Florida law." On Feb. 1, when the College Board released its finalized version of the course, the official curriculum appeared to have been stripped of such topics as Black Lives Matter, reparation, and Black feminism. Then, last week, the Florida DOE noted it had been in contact with the College Board for months, insinuating its protests were what led to the revisions, per the Washington Post.

In its statement, the College Board says that was not the case, and that Florida's derision of the course was "slander." "Our lack of clarity allowed the narrative to arise that political forces had 'downgraded' the role of these contemporary movements and debates in the AP class," the group says, noting that some of those topics that seemed to have gone missing from the course still remained as optional study topics, and that much of the pilot material had been decided on last April—"far prior to any pushback." "The official framework is a significant improvement, rather than a watering down," it notes.

story continues below

The College Board also disputes the assertion that Florida had been in "frequent" contact with the organization ahead of the final version being released, calling that a "false and politically motivated charge," insisting any emails that went back and forth were "transactional" ones about administrative matters. "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," the College Board asserts. It now expresses remorse for "not immediately denouncing" the state DOE's narrative. "Our failure to raise our voice betrayed Black scholars everywhere and those who have long toiled to build this remarkable field," it notes. Multiple outlets report that DeSantis and the Florida DOE haven't yet responded to requests for comment. (More College Board stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.