The College Board, which is an organization that designs Advanced Placement (AP) courses in high schools across the country, is embroiled in a controversy with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over its course content and curriculum. DeSantis objected to an AP course on black American history because it contained allegedly offensive, age-inappropriate content such as “queer theory.”
As a result of the dust-up, the organization changed the content that satisfied DeSantis, who threatened to pull all AP courses from Florida’s schools. It stated, “This course has been shaped only by the input of experts and long-standing AP principles and practices,” but internal emails contradict this public narrative.
These emails, unearthed by The Wall Street Journal, show that the organization is singing a different tune internally and acknowledges that the organization caved in the face of political pressure.
A University of Kansas professor, Nishani Frazier, criticized The College Board. She said, “We all know this is a blatant lie. In fact, the major changes which occurred came from my unit—and not once did AP speak with me about these changes. Instead, it rammed through revisions, pretended course transformation was business as usual, and then further added insult to injury by attempting to gaslight the public with faux innocence.” The professor added that the course was “edited behind our backs.”
It is important to note that Frazier sits on the AP course’s development committee.
But Frazier’s next comments confirmed the political Right’s fears of left-wing indoctrination. She said, “What is unsaid is the failure of AP to recognize both its own institutional racism and how its own lies and capitulation precipitated the creation of a monster of its own making.”
Do Frazier’s comments about alleged “institutional racism” ring as politically-neutral to you? Not very likely.
Another academic colleague on the committee, David Embrick of the University of Connecticut, forwarded Frazier’s email to a colleague at Trinity College and noted his own beliefs on the AP course revisions, “[She] is right here.” The Trinity College colleague responded, “Dude, College Board is f— over y’all.”
Then came the apology from the organization: Trevor Packer, who has headed the AP program since 2003, admitted that “the edits made to the framework that were not adequately discussed with the Development Committee are a violation of our core processes for developing AP frameworks. We are deeply sorry for that breakdown.”
The Wall Street Journal did not buy The College Board’s response to their reporting, where the AP course developer claimed that Packer was referring to “a process issue” and maintained it was not influenced by outside parties.
Yet the entire controversy, and the resulting internal emails and discussions, demonstrate that The College Board is trying to protect its public image and its money-maker AP courses.