The state of Florida rejected The College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP) course on African-American studies over allegations of “woke” material. Gov. Ron DeSantis said that the state education agency rejected the course because it pushed a political agenda, which claim the course’s authors rejected.
The Associated Press reported the news, which came about a week after the state’s Department of Education informed the College Board that it would reject the course in Florida schools unless it changed aspects of the course. The College Board spent ten years of developing the course and is currently testing the course in 60 high schools across the country.
DeSantis said, “This course on Black history, what’s one of the lessons about? Queer theory. Now who would say that an important part of Black history is queer theory? That is somebody pushing an agenda.” He affirmed that the AP course violates the state’s Stop WOKE Act, which bans instruction that claims people are oppressed or privileged based on race. The Republican governor, who is a potential 2024 presidential candidate, said that Floridians “want education, not indoctrination.”
The course includes a chapter on “Black Queer Studies,” and as the Florida Department of Education noted, promotes the partisan idea that modern American society oppresses minorities, women, and black people, and pushes anti-capitalist ideals.
Florida Democrat, Fentrice Driskell, criticized DeSantis’s decision to reject the AP course as “cowardly.” Driskell said, “Imagine how boring and closed minded we’d all be if we only met ideas that we agreed with.” Her comment is ironic as the Democratic Party and progressives have pushed to censor conservative speech on Big Tech platforms, in the mainstream media, and in the public square.
The Associated Press noted that three of the course’s authors defended their input. Roderick Ferguson, a professor specializing in women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at Yale University, claimed that “right-wing forces are mobilizing to suppress the free discussion” of America’s past discrimination of the LGBTQ+ community. Ferguson was cited as a source for the controversial “Black Queer Studies” chapter in the course.
Another author, history professor Robin Kelley at UCLA, previously wrote a book about the history of communism in Alabama during the Great Depression and a piece critical of past “oppressors” of black people. Kelley said that his book on communism “won several awards and accolades, including from a few conservative anti-Communist historians” due to its “thorough research.”
Rutgers University assistant sociology professor, Leslie Kay Jones, was quoted in the course condemning white supremacy, “Black people produce an unquantifiable amount of content for the same social media corporations that reproduce the white supremacist superstructure that suppresses us.” She expressed shock at the criticism of her content because she shares similar criticisms about social media companies like DeSantis.