DeSantis Admin Requests Additional Information On Now-Revised AP African American Studies Course

Alexa Schwerha 

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration is requesting additional information about an AP African American Studies course after learning that it may still contain topics counter to state law prohibiting Critical Race Theory (CRT) from being taught in public schools, according to a Tuesday letter sent to College Board and obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The College Board issued a new framework for the advanced course on Feb. 1 which eliminated subjects such as “black queer studies” and specific readings that pushed tenets of CRT after the Florida Department of Education (DOE) rejected the course Jan. 12. College Board CEO David Coleman spoke with NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly on Feb. 3, however, and said that the students enrolled in the course would have access to a “free resource” that reportedly contains material that was removed from the original syllabus.

“But there’s a free resource called AP Classroom, and every teacher and student in AP African American studies is going to have access to it. And we have already bought the permissions for texts like Kimberle Crenshaw’s breakthrough piece on – ‘Mapping The Margins,’ on intersectionality,” Coleman said. “And they’re going to be freely available to students and teachers throughout the course. Audre Lorde’s poems – sources that people were worried are gone are actually going to be magnified and made more available than ever in the classroom and teaching resources, which is where secondary sources in AP always are.”

The Florida DOE Office of Articulation, which played a role in reviewing the course, sent a letter to College Board Florida Partnership Brian Barnes on Tuesday requesting the materials that are considered “secondary sources.”

“To that end, to help FDOE staff with their comprehensive review of your resubmission, we are requesting with your resubmission that you include the additional information referenced in the February 3, 2023 NPR interview,” the letter reads. “Specifically, the NPR interview references ‘a free resource called AP Classroom, and every teacher and student in AP African American studies is going to have access to it.’ Since these are free resources included with the revised AP course, please include these free resources, including Mr. Coleman’s highlighted resources on ‘intersectionality,’ with your submission.”

Coleman and College Board Director of Advanced Placement African American Studies Brandi Waters stressed in the NPR interview the DeSantis administration’s rejection of the course had no impact on the revisions that were made earlier this month.

“Let me try to explain. What was attacked were secondary sources and all the secondary sources. What was not discussed in all the political commentary was the core facts and evidence of the course. Everyone’s in agreement. It seems that that was brilliantly handled,” Coleman said.

The Florida DOE began interactions with the College Board in January 2022, according to the letter. The office wrote the communication with the College Board was “remarkable” and said it does “appreciate the regular, two-way verbal and written dialogue on this important topic.”

The office wrote it is looking forward to reviewing the revised course to consider it for the 2023-2024 academic year.

The College Board and Barnes did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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