Ron DeSantis Rejected an AP African American History Course


Ellianna Valkenburg

On Jan. 19, 2023, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis rejected a new Advanced Placement course offered by College Board. The course would allow students to study African American History in depth.

Ellianna Valkenburg, Staffer

On Jan. 19, 2023, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis rejected a new Advanced Placement course offered by College Board. The course was set to cover over 400 years of African American History, touching on topics such as literature, geography, political science, and more. The Florida Commissioner of Education, Manny Diaz Jr, claimed the proposed AP course was “filled with Critical Race Theory and other obvious violations of Florida law.” Along with claiming that the course was a woke masquer of education.    

At a press conference four days after rejecting the course, DeSantis defended the decision claiming that the course’s inclusion of queer theory was “Someone pushing an agenda on our kids.” Later adding that Florida believes in teaching kids facts and “How to think,” not pushing any political or social agenda. 

In contrast, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre argued that while the Biden administration doesn’t have dictation over the school’s curriculum, it is “Incomprehensible” to block students from studying Black Americans. Along with bringing to light that similar courses such as AP European History and AP Art History were continued and are taught in many Florida schools.   

However, this rejection is not a surprising phenomenon. DeSantis has already banned teachers and students from talking about who they love and, more importantly, who they are with the infamous “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Along with banning hormone treatment and other gender-affirming care for transgender youth.    

“AP African American History is necessary to teach people the mistakes of our past and what real human beings were forced to endure as well as the cultural impacts of this history,” says Sophomore Carmen Rivera.   

Fredrick Ingram, secretary-treasurer of the American Federation of Teachers, one of the country’s most prominent teachers’ unions, expressed his opinion on the topic during a PBS News interview on Jan. 23. During this interview, he stated that the best and the brightest students would have the chance to study African American History in the same depth that students learn Italian or Japanese History with an AP African American History course. Adding that politicizing African American History is “shameful” of the governor and that our children deserve more.   

Sophomore Coen Jones believes African American History deserves to be further taught in schools to educate students on a fundamental part of American History as a whole.    

“There’s more to every story, and that should be voiced,” Jones stated. “Not only would it benefit everyone’s perspective, but it would also allow African Americans a chance to have their side of history spoken.”   

In response to DeSantis dismissing the specialized African American History Course, Black politicians and religious leaders in Florida have rallied against the DeSantis administration. Some are going as far as to plan a march in Tallahassee for February to rally against the decision, some claiming that dismissing the course erases History.    

Sophomore William Baker commented on the topic, saying, “The rejection of AP African American History is unjust and wrong” Baker added, “Students should be allowed to learn what they want to learn, and the class would also bring awareness to what African Americans had to endure.”

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