Home News Florida Officials Had Repeated Contact With College Board Over African American Studies

Florida Officials Had Repeated Contact With College Board Over African American Studies


The Florida letter suggests discrepancies with the College Board’s account of events. Florida publicly announced that it had rejected the A.P. course in January, a few weeks before the College Board released its final guidelines — too little time, the board said, to make any politically motivated revisions. But according to the letter, the state informed the College Board months before, in September 2022, that it would not add the African American Studies class to the state’s course directory without revisions.

The Florida letter also outlines a key Nov. 16 meeting to air differences between the state and the College Board over the course. In the meeting, the state claimed that the A.P. African American Studies course violated regulations requiring that “instruction on required topics must be factual and objective and may not suppress or distort significant historical events.”

According to the state, the College Board acknowledged that the course would undergo revisions, while pushing back against the state’s request to remove concepts like “systemic marginalization” and “intersectionality,” which the College Board saw as integral to the class.

Nevertheless, by the time the course’s final framework was released on Feb. 1, those terms had largely been removed, except that intersectionality was listed as an optional subject for the course’s required final project, in which students can choose their area of focus.

In its response to the Florida letter, the College Board said, “We are confident in the historical accuracy of every topic included in the pilot framework, as well as those now in the official framework.” The board has also said that students and teachers could still engage with ideas like intersectionality through optional lessons or projects and through A.P. Classroom, a free website that will serve as a repository for important texts for the class.

Even so, many scholars have noted the omission of terms that, according to the College Board’s own research documents, are considered central to African American Studies as it is taught on college campuses.

Intersectionality, for example, is an influential theory first laid out by the legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989. It posits that race, class, gender, sexuality and other forms of identity intersect in ways that shape individuals’ experience of the world.

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