College Board Unveils Revised Curriculum For AP African American Studies

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The College Board has released its official curriculum for its new Advanced Placement (AP) course in African American studies following criticism from Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Department of Education that it "lacked educational value."

According to the New York Times, the 234-page curriculum framework was unveiled on Wednesday (February 1) with many of the topics previously subjected to criticism from the governor and other conservatives stripped from the course.

College Board ushered out a number of Black writers and scholars associated with critical race theory, queer studies, and Black feminism, which were found in the pilot curriculum tested out in schools across the country this year. Black Lives Matter was also stripped as a required topic of the course, while "Black conservatism" was added.

Content covering Africa, slavery, reconstruction, and the civil rights movement was seemingly untouched and is still included in the updated curriculum. However, contemporary topics like affirmative action, queer life, the debate over reparations, and the aforementioned Black Lives Matters will no longer be a part of the AP exam and are only presented in a list of options for a required research project.

The revised curriculum comes after DeSantis announced that he would block the AP African American Studies course based on its draft version. Florida education officials said its contents weren't historically accurate and violated state law.

David Coleman, the head of the College Board, denied that the course was watered down due to political pressure.

“At the College Board, we can’t look to statements of political leaders,” Coleman said.

"The input of professors" and "longstanding A.P. principles" shaped the final framework for the course, he added.

In a letter published on Tuesday (January 31), more than 200 faculty members accused DeSantis of trying “to intimidate the College Board into appeasement" with his public condemnation of the course.

"African American history is not just male. It’s not just straight. It’s not just middle class,” Kimberlé W. Crenshaw, a law professor at Columbia, said ahead of the curriculum's official release. “It has to tell the story of all of us.”

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