Florida Governor Ron DeSantis rejected a bid from the College Board to approve a new African American studies curriculum, reportedly over concerns that it violated a recent ban on indoctrinating students into wokeness.
The Stop Woke Act, signed last year, prevents Florida schools from teaching students to believe in discriminating on the basis of race, color, or sex — ideas that can often be found in woke programs. DeSantis’ move comes after a federal judge ruled in favor of his administration’s attempt to fully implement other parts of the law.
“[A]s presented, the content of this course is inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value,” the Florida Department of Education told the College Board in a January 12 letter first obtained by The National Review. The letter also says that the department will reconsider in the future should the College Board decide to make it “lawful” and “historically accurate.”
The College Board, the premier national organization for giving high school students college credits for advanced courses, has been piloting the African American studies curriculum to prepare for a wide-scale launch in 2024. The company currently has curricula for dozens of other courses across all 50 states, including courses in arts, sciences, and languages.
But the company has, until now, not ventured into the “studies” fields — which include African American studies but also gender studies, women’s studies, and ethnic studies — often seen as the most woke departments in higher education.
Proponents of teaching African American studies have argued that the courses encourage holistic thinking about U.S. history, but detractors note that the curricula themselves primarily emphasize narratives of Left-wing advocacy and grievance, not history.
For example, the College Board’s own website suggests that a major in African American studies can prepare you for only one career field: community organizer and activist. In contrast, the College Board suggests that a major in history can prepare you for a multitude of careers, including as an anthropologist, conservator, curator, foreign service officer, historian, judge, or attorney.
The College Board has declined to publicly release its African American studies curriculum, arguing that it contains proprietary information. However, the curriculum leans heavily into Marxism, socialism, and sympathy toward CRT tenets, such as a rejection of colorblindness.
The College Board told The Daily Wire that the curriculum will continue to go through a review process before its public release.
“Like all new AP courses, AP African American Studies is undergoing a rigorous, multi-year pilot phase, collecting feedback from teachers, students, scholars and policymakers,” the College Board said. “The process of piloting and revising course frameworks is a standard part of any new AP course, and frameworks change significantly as a result. We look forward to publicly releasing the updated course framework as soon as it is completed and well before this class is widely available in American high schools.”
Florida Department of Education Press Secretary Cassie Palelis told The Daily Wire that the state will consider the course if it meets the standards signed into law by the governor.
“In its current form, the College Board’s AP African American Studies course lacks educational value and is contrary to Florida law,” Palelis said. “If the course comes into compliance and incorporates historically accurate content, the Department will reopen the discussion.”
Joshua Myers, who reportedly helped develop the course, rejects neutrality as a concept and advocates against capitalism, according to NRO. According to his website biography, his research interests include “critical university studies” and “disciplinarity,” as well as “Africana intellectual histories and traditions, Africana philosophy, musics, and foodways.”
Zach Jewell contributed to this report.