Florida Bans New African American Studies Course

Understanding why Florida banned the new African American studies AP course

Florida Bans New African American Studies Course

The College Board has recently developed a new Advanced Placement course called African American studies. The class took over a decade to develop and is being piloted at 60 schools across America. The College Board plans to make it available to all schools in the 2024-2025 school year. Academic Magnet actually happens to be one of those 60 schools that will pilot the course next year. The course aims to explore the experiences and contributions of African Americans across American history. 

Recently Florida’s education department has blocked the proposed Advanced Placement course focused on African American studies, calling it a form of political indoctrination and a violation of state law. Florida is one of many states that want to restrict how teachers can talk about topics like race, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Republican governor Ron DeSantis has taken measures to revise education practices in his state, including signing two restrictive bills into law last year. People who oppose the implementation of this class argue that the class delves too far into political agendas. A group of Black faith leaders is now pushing to meet with the DeSantis administration about the decision and is planning a march on the capitol, Tallahassee, next month. In addition, Black state politicians have also denounced the move by Florida, claiming that the move is an attempt to whitewash history.

When you devalue my history and say it lacks educational merit, that is demeaning to us

— Rev. R. B. Holmes, Jr., pastor of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Tallahassee


Civil rights attorney Ben Crump joined Florida students on Wednesday in announcing they would sue the state and DeSantis if the class does not get reinstated. Crump is joined by leaders of the American Federation of Teachers, politicians, and three AP honors students who will serve as the lead plaintiffs. 


The fact that we are dealing with issues like this still today just goes to show how there is still a very big race issue in the education system. Whether it be a lack of representation, access to education, or fair treatment, there are still a lot of problems in the American school system. These problems stem all the way back to the civil rights movement and segregation. While most people would like to believe that we have moved on and grown to be a better country, this highlights how the negative effects of the period are still being felt today.  

There is no reason why a class like this should be banned from the education system. Hopefully, Florida reevaluates their decision and allows the class to be taught. If they do not then I am confident that legal action will be taken against the state of Florida then hopefully this class will finally be available for students to take. 


Please see the letter sent today from the AP Program to College Board membership.
Dear members,

On Wednesday, February 1, the first day of Black History Month, the Advanced Placement Program will release the official framework for the AP African American Studies course. The official framework has been under development for nearly a year. It will replace the preliminary pilot course framework under discussion to date and defines what students will encounter on the AP Exam for college credit and placement.

We have worked and planned for this day for many months and will mark the milestone with a celebration at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture on February 2.

The course is the subject of great interest, and we want to explain the process we have followed to get to this point.

To develop this official course framework, the AP Program consulted with more than 300 professors of African American Studies from more than 200 colleges nationwide, including dozens of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The course focuses on the topics where professors shared a strong consensus on the essential shared events, experiences, and individuals crucial to a study of African American history and culture. This process was completed in December 2022.

To be clear, no states or districts have seen the official framework that will be released on February 1, much less provided feedback on it. This course has been shaped only by the input of experts and long-standing AP principles and practices.

When we share the course framework next week, the public will see the extraordinary stories, artwork, documents, and debates at the heart of AP African American Studies. It is a remarkable course that explores the richness and depth of African American history and culture. We invite everyone to read the framework for themselves when it is released; it is a historic document that deserves your attention.

Finally, we want to thank the many members of the AP community who are helping to bring this vital course to life. We pledge to all of you that we will honor their work and maintain our unflinching commitment to this course.

We hope you will join us in celebrating this historic achievement next week.


Advanced Placement Program

College Board
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