Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker praised a proposed AP African American Studies curriculum that includes “black queer” theory and has been criticized by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis as pushing Left-wing activism under the guise of history.
The curriculum, developed by the College Board and currently undergoing pilots at five dozen high schools across the nation, reportedly focuses on radical leftist beliefs. The Florida Department of Education, which mandates traditional black history in public schools, blasted the material as “contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value,” and called on the influential organization to revise it to be “historically accurate.”
Pritzker, however, said he supports weaving in lessons on such subjects as “black queer” perspectives, “intersectionality” and the so-called reparations movement.
“Illinois expects any AP course offered on African American studies to include a factual accounting of history, including the role played by black queer Americans,” Pritzker said. “Illinois will closely examine the official coursework to ensure it includes all necessary history, starting with this nation’s foundation built on slavery, the Civil War where this nation reckoned with that history, and the decades of rebuilding and efforts of black Americans to continue their fight for equality and equity to this day.”
AP courses are university-level classes offered in some high schools and often translate to college credit. Pritzker said in a letter addressed to College Board CEO David Coleman that the nonprofit should “preserve the fundamental right to an education” regardless of “political grandstanding” from Florida Republicans.
While supporters of teaching African American studies have argued for including sometimes controversial cultural aspects, some critics assert that such courses often serve as a front for teaching Left-wing advocacy and grievance studies. DeSantis noted that the current version of the AP African American Studies curriculum includes radical theoretical policies such as abolishing prisons.
“They’re advocating things like abolishing prisons,” said DeSantis, who last year signed into a law a measure that bars Florida public schools from teaching discrimination on the basis of race, color, or sex. “Now that’s a radical political position,” he told reporters. “You’re free to take that in your own life, I don’t think very many people think that would actually work, but how is that being taught as fact?”
The College Board recently indicated that the course will undergo revisions before its public release in February, a move meant to correspond with the advent of Black History Month.