DeSantis defends decision to reject AP African American Studies course

(Paul Hennessy / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images / File)

In a Monday press conference, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis defended his administration’s decision to reject an AP course on African American Studies after the Florida Department of Education stated that it “lacked educational value” and violates the states recent law banning the teaching of CRT.

The controversy came after a letter was leaked that was sent to the College Board by the Florida Department of Education explaining the reason for the rejection of the course. The course cited six reasons for the rejection and that was over “Black Queer Studies,” Postracial RAcism and Colorblindness”, “Incarceration and Abolition,” “The Reparations Movement,” as well as “Intersectionality and Activism.” The section on “Black Queer Studies” advocated for abolishing prisons.

Critics claim that the decision to “ban African American studies” is due to racism.

Florida Democrat State Senator, Shevrin Jones, claimed that the rejection of the course amounts to a “whitewash” of American history. Jones stated that “we’re back at square one, seeing that we once again have to defend ourselves to be legitimate in America.”

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre weighed in, calling the decision “incomprehensible” and claimed that DeSantis wants to “block the study of black Americans”.

DeSantis defended the decisision to reject the course and noted that Florida law does require teaching black history, but that indoctrination will not be tolerated in the state.

“This was a separate course on top of that for Advanced Placement credit. And the issue is we have guidelines and standards in Florida. We want education, not indoctrination. If you fall on the side of indoctrination, we’re going to decline”, DeSantis said in the press conference.

“We want to do history, and that’s what our standards for Black history are. It’s just cut and dried history,” DeSantis said. “You learn all the basics you learn about the great figures, and you know, I view it as American history. I don’t view it as separate history. You know, we have history in lots of different shapes and sizes, people that have participated to make the country great, people that have stood up when it wasn’t easy and they all deserve to be taught. But abolishing prisons being taught to high school kids as if that’s somehow a fact? No, no, that’s not appropriate.”

According to state law “classroom instruction and curriculum may not be used to indoctrinate or persuade students to a particular point of view inconsistent with the principles enumerated in subsection (3) or the state academic standards.”

Subsection three states that instruction and classroom materials “must be consistent with the following principles of individual freedom” including that “No person is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously, solely by virtue of his or her race or sex,” “No race is inherently superior to another race,” “No person should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, disability, or sex,” and “Meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are not racist but fundamental to the right to pursue happiness and be rewarded for industry.”

The subsection goes on to state that “A person should not be instructed that he or she must feel guilt, anguish, or other forms of psychological distress for actions, in which he or she played no part, committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex.”

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