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College Board announces changes to AP African American history course

The College Board cited conflict in reaching its goals to provide access to African American studies to students across the country.
College Board announces changes to AP African American history course
Posted at 11:25 AM, Apr 25, 2023

The College Board announced it's making changes to the Advanced Placement course in African American studies.

In a press release, the board said the changes, which will be determined in the coming months, are being decided by scholars and experts within the Advanced Placement Program.

"We are committed to providing an unflinching encounter with the facts and evidence of African American history and culture," the board said. "To achieve that commitment, we must listen to the diversity of voices within the field. The development committee and experts within AP remain engaged in building a course and exam that best reflect this dynamic discipline."

The course was crafted over the past decade and is still in its pilot phase. It started off in 60 schools during the 2022-2023 school year. Next year, it will be implemented in 800 schools.

"Every day, there are more stories about how this course is opening minds and changing lives," the board said.

However, it also cited conflict in reaching its goals to provide access to the curriculum to students across the country.

SEE MORE: An African American studies course is now banned in Florida schools

In January, the Florida Department of Education said it would end participation in the pilot program. Without citing specific examples, state officials wrote: "As presented, the content of this course is inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value. In the future, should College Board be willing to come back to the table with lawful, historically accurate content, FDOE will always be willing to reopen the discussion." 

Later, in February, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced his plans to block programs on diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as critical race theory, in state colleges.

The national discourse on critical race theory, which is the core idea that race is a social construct, has resulted in various states — including Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Idaho — banning CRT or limiting what educators can teach regarding race. Meanwhile, some advocates for legislation protecting African American history education are pushing for bills to support voluntary educational programs, and others want African American history to be included in the requirements for applicants and grantees of the Presidential and Congressional Academies program.

"The story of Black people in America is inextricably linked to the story of America. The fullness of this rich history must be told — both its dark chapters and the light — brought by generations of people determined to overcome and make our country better through an ongoing quest for justice," Sen. Cory Booker said while introducing the African American History Act. 

SEE MORE: Democrats introduce bills intended to bolster Black history education

The College Board says its updated framework for the curriculum will make sure students taking the course will get "the most holistic possible introduction to African American Studies."

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