Earlier this month, Ron DeSantis’s office barred the College Board-managed AP African-American studies course from being taught in Florida’s high schools, citing concerns that it presents a “historically inaccurate” and “contrary to state law” perspective on the African-American experience.
According to the Washington Post, if the class is not approved, a group of honors students has threatened to sue the governor and the state. At a press conference on Wednesday in Tallahassee, civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who will represent the three high school students in the potential lawsuit, claimed that DeSantis’ action was unlawful on both the state and federal levels.
Crump declared, “These three young people will be the main plaintiffs in a historic case if [DeSantis] does not negotiate with the College Board to allow AP African-American Studies to be taught in classrooms across the state of Florida.” The governor “cannot extinguish our culture.”
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DeSantis has stated he isn’t against a Black history course in principle, but only if it abides by a new state legislation requiring courses to be presented in a “objective way” and “not utilized to indoctrinate or influence pupils to a certain point of view.” On the other hand, his detractors claim that he is stereotypically attacking Black culture. According to ABC News, one of the students who may file a lawsuit remarked at a news conference, “I realized that I have not studied much about the history or culture of my people outside of my parents and close relatives.”
Florida Democratic Representative Fentrice Driskell, who also attended the news conference, said that by rejecting the course, DeSantis “has clearly indicated that he wants to define whose history does—and doesn’t belong.”
The Florida Board of Education, which has “concerns” about the course due to its focus on issues like Black queer studies and reparations, said in a letter seen by ABC that it is willing to OK the curriculum provided it “comes into compliance and incorporates historically appropriate information.” The College Board reports that the course, which is being tested in a select number of high schools across the United States, will be implemented nationally beginning in 2024.
As a result of “input from high schools and universities,” the document claims that the official framework for the course would be made public on Wednesday. To what extent DeSantis’ objections have delayed or altered any planned adjustments is unclear.
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