The decade's most triggering comedy
Florida’s Department of Education said this week that AP Psychology is still allowed in schools despite the College Board claiming the course was banned under a new law.
Multiple school districts dropped the course this month after the College Board, which creates the AP courses, claimed AP Psychology was “effectively banned” under Florida’s new law restricting instruction on gender identity.
“We are sad to have learned that today the Florida Department of Education has effectively banned AP Psychology in the state by instructing Florida superintendents that teaching foundational content on sexual orientation and gender identity is illegal under state law,” the College Board said in a statement on August 3.
The College Board advised Florida school districts not to offer AP Psychology until Florida “reverses their decision.”
In response, districts across Florida started dropping the course.
The Department of Education sent a letter to superintendents the next day, saying AP Psychology could still be taught “in its entirety,” and accused the College Board of “playing games.”
However, concerns remained, so on Wednesday, Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. clarified again that the course is not in fact banned.
“As Commissioner of Education, I tasked my team with reviewing the AP Psychology framework at length. I believe I was clear in my previous letter, but I want to make sure there is no room for misinterpretation,” Diaz wrote in a letter to school superintendents.
The Department of Education believes that the part of the course that asks students to “describe how sex and gender influence socialization and other aspects of development” can be “taught consistent with Florida law,” Diaz said.
The College Board responded to Diaz’s new letter, saying it offers “clear guidance” that “provides Florida educators, parents and students the certainty they need.”
Last year, Republican Governor Ron DeSantis signed the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits classroom instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity through grade three. Another law has since extended the restrictions through eighth grade, and in April, Florida’s board of education expanded the restrictions to all grades. Exceptions to the restrictions are as part of optional reproductive health education or to comply with existing state standards.
AP Psychology is part of the College Board’s Advanced Placement program, which allows high school students take college-level courses.
More than 28,000 Florida students took AP Psychology last school year, the College Board said. The College Board also previously said it would not alter the AP Psychology course to meet Florida’s legal requirements.
DeSantis has argued the legislation keeps parents informed about what their kids are exposed to and protects young children from sexualization.
“We are going to remain a refuge of sanity and a citadel of normalcy, and kids should have an upbringing that reflects that,” DeSantis said when he signed the new law expanding content restrictions through eighth grade.
Gender and sexual content in school curricula and libraries has become a hot topic in recent years. Parents have shown up to school board meetings to vehemently express their concerns about the content their children have access to through their public schools.