Little more than a week after Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis said his state blocked a new Advanced Placement (AP) high school course on African American studies because it was based on a "political agenda," the College Board has revised the course by removing much of the content questioned.
The board on Wednesday released an official curriculum for its new AP course, which now does not include Black Lives Matter (BLM) and the names of many Black writers and scholars "associated with critical race theory, the queer experience and Black feminism," The New York Times reported.
Also, "Black conservatism" now is offered as an idea for a research project, the Times said.
The reparations debate, "gay life and expression in Black communities," and BLM only are included in a list of examples of topics that students can pick for research projects, CNN reported.
Besides DeSantis, the board also had to deal with more than two dozen states having adopted some sort of measure against critical race theory, according to a tracking project by the University of California, Los Angeles, law school.
During a Jan. 23 press conference, DeSantis said that Florida’s education standards "require teaching on Black history, all the important things, that's part of our core curriculum." However, "we want education, not indoctrination. If you fall on the side of indoctrination, we're going to decline."
On Tuesday, DeSantis announced legislation to further elevate intellectual freedom in higher education, and pushing back against "liberal elites who suppress free thought in the name of identity politics and indoctrination."
After hearing about the specifics of the AP course earlier this month, DeSantis, who's considered a potential contender for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, said it went way beyond not meeting the state's standards.
"What's one of the lessons about? Queer theory," the governor said. "Now who would say that an important part of Black history is queer theory? That is somebody pushing an agenda on our kids."
The Times reported that College Board President David Coleman refused to attribute the course updates to DeSantis' criticism.
"At the College Board, we can't look to statements of political leaders," said Coleman, who added "the input of professors" and "longstanding AP principles" caused the changes.
Coleman said that during the initial test of the AP course, the board received feedback that some sources were "quite dense."
"We experimented with a lot of things including assigning secondary sources, and we found a lot of issues arose as we did," Coleman said, the Times reported. "I think what is most surprising and powerful for most people is looking directly at people’s experience."
The nonprofit College Board has said the first African American studies exam would be administered in the spring of 2025.
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