As a feud over an African American studies course continues between Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration and the College Board, the governor said Monday that Florida will “look to re-evaluate” its relationship with the organization.
“This College Board, like, nobody elected them to anything. They’re just kind of there, and they’re providing service. So you can either utilize those services or not. And they’ve provided these AP (Advanced Placement) courses for a long time. But, you know, there are probably some other vendors who may be able to do that job as good, or maybe even a lot better,” DeSantis said during a news conference in Naples.
Tension between Florida education officials and the College Board became public last month after the state objected to several topics that were proposed for inclusion in an Advanced Placement African American studies course that was being developed.
The Florida Department of Education sent a letter to the College Board citing topics that were initially planned for the course, including “Black queer studies” and the “reparations movement,” and essentially saying the state would not offer the course unless changes were made. The College Board develops Advanced Placement courses, which are college-level classes offered to high-school students.
The College Board on Feb. 1 released an updated framework for the course that scrubbed the topics that the department took issue with, as well as works of various authors — also called into question by the department — that would have been required in the course. It also sought to dispel that it was making the changes because of Florida’s objections.
“No states or districts have seen the official framework that is released, much less provided feedback on it. This course has been shaped only by the input of experts and long-standing AP principles and practices,” the organization said in a statement that accompanied the framework.
The Florida education department responded to the updated framework in a Feb. 7 letter. The department’s Office of Articulation highlighted a series of communications that it said had taken place with the College Board since early last year.
“That FDOE and The College Board have been communicating since January 2022 regarding the proposed course is remarkable. We do appreciate the regular, two-way verbal and written dialogue on this important topic,” the department’s letter said.
Without accepting the revised course framework, the department said it is looking forward to “reviewing your complete and official resubmission of the course” for next school year.
But in a statement posted to its website Saturday, the College Board expressed regret at not pushing back against the DeSantis administration.
“We deeply regret not immediately denouncing the Florida Department of Education’s slander, magnified by the DeSantis administration’s subsequent comments, that African American Studies ‘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 statement said.
Asked about the College Board’s statement Monday, DeSantis again took shots at what he called “indoctrination” in education.
“The College Board was the one that, in a Black studies course, put queer theory in. Not us, they did that. They were the ones that put in intersectionality. They put in other types of neo-Marxism into the proposed syllabus,” the governor said.
Flanked by state legislative leaders, DeSantis said he has “already talked” with House Speaker Paul Renner, R-Palm Coast, about re-evaluating the state’s use of the College Board’s products.
In addition to Advanced Placement courses, the College Board also creates the SAT test that evaluates prospective college students on reading, math, writing and language and is factored into higher-education admissions.
“I think the Legislature is going to look to re-evaluate kind of how Florida’s doing that. Of course, our universities can or can’t accept College Board courses for credit. Maybe they’ll do others. And then also just whether our universities do the SAT versus the ACT. I think they do both. But we’re going to evaluate kind of how that process goes,” DeSantis said.
The 2023 legislative session is slated to start March 7, and various proposals targeting what DeSantis calls “trendy ideology” have been floated for consideration.
Meanwhile, the DeSantis administration’s rejection of the African American studies course has drawn ire from Black state lawmakers and religious leaders. Prominent civil-rights attorney Ben Crump also has threatened to file a lawsuit against the administration because of the move.
Sen. Shevrin Jones, D-Miami Gardens, accused DeSantis of potentially threatening educational access for Florida students if the state severs ties with the College Board.
“Imagine this, the Gov is willing to sink the entire ship, denying students of educational access, all for what? ‘Wokeness’, which is really anti-Blackness, racism, and the epitome of TRUE indoctrination,” Jones said in a Twitter post Monday.
–Ryan Dailey, News Service of Florida
@ “Eppur si muove”
Galileo is fine company to be in. Pope desantis is not.
The Republican Party has become a shadow over the future of the entire world.
Ray W. says
The other shoe drops. Can it be predicted that public money that is currently being spent on purchasing AP course materials just might be redirected by legislative initiatives to some yet to be created corporate entity that will begin working on producing course materials based on acceptable political ideologies?
desantis cracks down on woke:
2023: 25 years in the making…
Dedicated grifters, actually, are easy to find…
A family that preys together…
Just a coincidence…
Nah! Hillsdale College already has that contract sewn up and Sunshine Law be damned! Indoctrination is ok if it is the “right” sort.
Joseph Barand says
Everything and anything to dumb down students. He needs to indoctrinate the kids just like he did the parents. If his wife stabbed him to death, I would donate to her defense fund.
Governor DeSantis fights against any form of advanced intelligence.
Meatball rides again. The more he opens his mouth the less votes he will get in the end. Other states do vote not just Florida in all presidential elections.
Professor Heinberg says
The picture of the narcissistic little girls shows just how uneducated and ignorant our society has become. Get they where never taught WHY George Washington crossed the Delaware River and how it saved America.
Professor: Hey, my generation was lucky. We learned, every year, that Columbus sailed the blue in 1492. I’m waiting for the anti-woke group to pick up on, and use, that.
…and started enslaving, torturing and murdering indigenous people that very day. In fact they killed so many that they had to import Africans to fill the slave void.
Nephew Of Uncle Sam says
There’s Conservatives and then there’s way-out crazy ‘Conservatives”, he falls in the later. If regular Conservatives think the dumbing down of Florida’s children is alright they may want to think a little harder about their children’s future.
Jack Howell says
This potential move by the governor is wrong in many ways. If he tells his DOE to prohibit AP classes in our public school system, the DOE puppets will. But I think the governor will take it one step further. He will prevent all students seeking admission to state colleges and universities from transferring AP course credit! All we can do is watch and see!
What Else Is New says
Sweaty face Ron is counting on the continued name recognition from the media, caring little the source, subject or whom it hurts, devalues or dismisses.
Tony Mack says
This editorial pretty much says it all about the Tallahassee Tyrant…
DeSantis is a master of distraction. When is Florida’s governor actually going to govern?
Opinion BY THE MIAMI HERALD EDITORIAL BOARD FEBRUARY 15, 2023 4:00 AM
It’s Disney all over again. This time, Gov. Ron DeSantis apparently got angry at the College Board for daring to call out the state Department of Education’s “slander” when it said an Advanced Placement course on African-American studies didn’t have “educational value.” Now the governor is making barely veiled threats to get rid of AP courses in Florida altogether, with students most likely to pay the price for his latest concocted controversy. Last year, it was Disney. DeSantis went after the company’s special taxing district after The Mouse had the temerity to push back against the governor’s “Don’t say gay” bill. That special taxing district? It now falls under DeSantis’ control, after the Legislature did his bidding.
If you like DeSantis as a leader, you’re probably happy with his most recent strongman imitation. If you despise him, you’re probably seeing red. In either case, you’re doing exactly what he wants. You’re distracted from thinking about all the stuff he’s not doing — like, say, governing. DeSantis, like Donald Trump before him, is practicing the dark art of manipulating our attention, throwing bombs to keep us riveted, even as other, far less sexy state problems remain unfixed, like property insurance.
Ka-pow! He’s fighting against COVID shutdowns (conveniently forgetting that he did, in fact, shut down the state before whipping around and declaring us the “Free State of Florida.”) Ka-boom! He’s going after what’s being taught in elementary schools and high schools — and, now, colleges — because that’ll send parents into a frenzy. Blam! He’s raising the specter of book banning and drumming up fears of something he ominously called the “bio-medical security state.” TOO MUCH SPIN One minute he’s making it seem as though there’s a serious problem of children regularly attending drag shows (there isn’t) and the next he’s using our money to jet migrants from states (not his) to other states (again, not his) in a ridiculous overreach that generated a new round of headlines. It’s a wonder he doesn’t have motion sickness, he’s spinning so fast. He’s a Harvard-trained lawyer, but he’s getting legislation passed that is bound to be challenged in court, while we pay for it all. Either way, it’s a win for him. If he prevails in court, great. If he loses, he still wins because he gets attention — a lot of it national, to boot.
It’s a cynical calculation, that win-win. It relies on the mind-set that everything we’re talking about — the Legislature, the governorship, the expected run for the presidency — is a game. But it’s not. There are real victims of DeSantis’ politics. Your heart may not bleed for Disney, but this time around, it’s students who will suffer if the governor does indeed take AP classes away. Students count on those classes to help them get into college and to save them money by obtaining college credit while they’re still in high school. Students also count on taking the SAT test administered by the College Board. Yes, there are some alternatives for the advanced classes and standardized tests — taking the ACT instead of the SAT, for example — but they aren’t the same. Plus, some students like to take both tests to see how they fare. There’s another point to consider as well: Standardized tests and advanced classes can be effective ways for less-advantaged students to distinguish themselves — even if they didn’t take lessons in Mandarin and violin from the time they were toddlers.
As Eli Rhoads, a senior at Pasco County’s Mitchell High School, said to the Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau about AP classes: “I don’t see how I could have gotten ahead without them. You almost have to have these courses to stand out.” AP courses helped him get a full scholarship to the University of Alabama, he said. Both the SAT and the ACT should be available in Florida, and so should AP classes. Pulling those possibilities out from under students is cruel, especially if the only reason is to make a political point on your way to the Republican nomination. That brings us back to our main point: By giving so much light and air to DeSantis’ political gyrations, we let him draw attention from the many things he’s not doing. We let him control the narrative, making it one of fear and anger rather than actual policy discussions. There are real, festering problems in Florida that could benefit from the attention of our leaders, including him.
WHAT REALLY MATTERS Things like the insane costs of insurance in Florida, which, last we checked, was still a miserable burden on property owners. Or the regular people’s increasing inability to afford houses or rents. Or the Legislature’s continuing refusal to help lower-income people by expanding Medicaid, even though the feds would pick up 90% of the bill. They may not have the same ring as “where woke goes to die,” but they are serious, bread-and-butter issues for Floridians, and they are getting worse. And the culture wars that DeSantis specializes in don’t do a thing to address them. As voters and citizens, we don’t have to let DeSantis be the puppet-master. We don’t have to play the role of an obedient rehearsal audience for his glorious presidential bid. We have the right to expect our governor to actually pay attention to policy and try to help all of us. We have the right, in short, to expect that our governor actually do his job: govern.
Tony Mack: Thank you for the article. You usually come up with good stuff!
Deborah Coffey says
One can only hope that all those idiots who voted for Ron DeSantis have high school kids that will not get AP credits toward their college educations. They deserve what they get but, the rest of Floridians who knew enough not to vote for a Fascist Nazi will be forced to pay the price. Florida is in big trouble. Ron DeSantis needs to be removed from office immediately. When he’s not killing kids with Covid lies, he killing their futures because The College Board publicly disagreed with him…like Disney did. Unfortunately, Florida does not provide a path for his removal. We are the first Fascist state in the nation. And, I blame every single person who voted for it.