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College Board defends AP African American Studies course after DeSantis comments

Published on Saturday, the College Board starts their statement emphasizing that their "commitment to AP African American Studies is unwavering".

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The video above is from previous, related coverage. 

The College Board has released a statement asserting their "commitment to AP African American Studies" following the comments made by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and his administration. 

Published on Saturday, the College Board starts their statement emphasizing that their "commitment to AP African American Studies is unwavering".

"Setting the record straight"

The College Board explained their pride in the course before listing the mistakes that were made in the rollout. 

The first point in their statement directly calls out the Florida Department of Education and DeSantis administration's comments on AP African American Studies. The Governor's administration claimed that the course "lacks educational value". 

"Our failure to raise our voice betrayed Black scholars everywhere and those who have long toiled to build this remarkable field," the Board said in response. 

Erasing Black thinkers 

The Board explains that the framework is only the outline for the course, which will still be full of scholarly articles, video lectures, and free practice questions. The confusion lead to concern about "erasing or eliminating Black thinkers".

The statement asserted "the vitriol aimed at these scholars is repulsive and must stop".

Optional topics 

The Board expressed regret for their lack of clarity around contemporary events like the Black Lives Matter movement, reparations and mass incarceration, which are optional topics in the pilot course. 

The lack of clarity caused worry that political forces had "downgraded"  the discussion of contemporary issues in the course. 

"We encourage students to focus their projects on contemporary issues and debates to ensure their application of knowledge to the present," the section concluded. 

Core concepts with skill and care 

The Board admitted in the statement that the conversation around pilot teachers in different states has not been successful. 

"The fact is that pilot teachers everywhere are introducing the core concepts of this discipline with skill and care. Sadly, in some states teachers have more room to maneuver than others."

The Board recognizes in their statement that some states will have better resources and less restrictions than others but discourages the narrative that the teachers in worse situations aren't doing "exceptional work". 

Politically motivated charge

The College Board asserts that they were not in "frequent dialogue with Florida about the content of AP African American Studies" and that idea is politically fueled

The exchanged between the state and the Board were transactional emails about the filing of paperwork, according to the statement. 

"We had no negotiations about the content of this course with Florida or any other state, nor did we receive any requests, suggestions, or feedback."

To read the full statement from the AP College Board, click here.

The Board concludes by saying that the course could be "historic" and they hope their future efforts "will unmistakably and unequivocally honor their work". 

DeSantis answered questions about why the course had been rejected when speaking at a Jacksonville charter in January. 

"In Florida our education standards do not prevent, but require teaching Black history ... that’s part of our core curriculum. This (AP African American studies) was a separate course for advanced placement credit." DeSantis said at Duval Charter School at Baymeadows during a news conference on teacher salaries.

He called the proposed course "indoctrination, not education."

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