Democratic Broward County Sen. Rosalind Osgood is calling for the release of information regarding the state blocking Advanced Placement students from a course on African American history, saying the decision puts the state “at risk.”
First reported Tuesday in the National Review, the state Department of Education wrote in a Jan. 12 letter to the College Board that the pilot version of its AP African American Studies would not be offered in the state’s course directory.
“As presented, the content of this course is inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value,” says the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) letter that does not have an individual’s name. It is signed, instead, “The Office of Articulation.”
“In the future, should the College Board be willing to come back to the table with lawful, historically accurate content, FDOE will always be willing to reopen the discussion,” the letter says.
The decision has generated national media attention, including from the The New York Times, which said the FDOE did not respond to its questions about which law the course violates and what curriculum was objectionable. The FDOE did not immediately respond to Florida Politics’ request for a response Friday.
Osgood says “it is vitally important” that the state release more information about what led to this decision.”
“Not to teach our nation’s true, robust history puts us at risk of confirming stereotypes, myths and tropes,” she said in a prepared statement released Friday
Other legislators shared their outrage on social media.
Democratic Sen. Shevrin Jones of Miami-Dade noted Friday that the state’s AP class directory includes European and art history along with language and culture classes in Japanese, German, Italian and Spanish.
“Florida is doing its best to tilt the scales and shut down important, much-needed discussions of race, slavery, stolen lands and undeniable history that have led to where we are as a society today,” Jones wrote on Twitter.
Rep. Angie Nixon also sounded the alarm the day the National Review story came out, quoting a children’s literature expert discussing how the Nazis’ first step to control involved changing school curriculum.
“This man is planning to run for president of the United States,” Nixon wrote in a tweet with Gov. Ron DeSantis’ photo. “The fact that many people aren’t taking this seriously and sounding the alarm on how devastating he is currently and how much worse it will get is so frustrating. His team is smart and they dress up all their crap.”
During the last Regular Session, the Legislature passed and DeSantis signed a law (HB 7) that prohibits instruction, training or policies that make anyone feel uncomfortable or guilty because of their race, gender or national origin. It also gave individuals the right to sue if that happens.
Critics say the approach will hobble students’ historical understanding. But others say they are trying to stop “woke” instruction, also known as “critical race theory,” that sees everything about the nation’s past as the outcome of oppression and discrimination based on race, gender and national origin.
Christina Pushaw, the Governor’s former spokeswoman, derided the controversy.
Instead of getting mad at @GovRonDeSantis for rejecting this proposed AP course, people should ask @CollegeBoard why they included “queer theory” in an African-American History syllabus.https://t.co/RGOgXgcZXs
— Christina Pushaw 🐊 🇺🇸 (@ChristinaPushaw) January 19, 2023
At the state Education Board meeting on Wednesday, a representative of the Florida College System Presidents pledged that it was currently undergoing an evaluation to ensure that no activities, policies or instruction that compel belief in CRT are happening on any of the state’s 28 college campuses.
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