Recently Ron DeSantis has been flexing and wielding his fascist sword. He’s been making headlines for his decision to decline advanced placement (AP) courses on African American history. He said that it “lacked educational value.”
This flex has raised major concerns among educators and students alike about the impact it will have not only on Black students but all students.
AP courses are rigorous college-level classes that are designed to prepare high school students for the challenges of higher education covering a wide range of subjects. Florida offers AP courses in European History as well as Japanese/German/Italian/Spanish Language and Culture. Nonetheless, DeSantis blocked African American studies. This isn’t a coincidence.
In 2020, the College Board, which oversees the AP program, announced that it would offer a new AP course on African American history. This course was designed to provide students with a more comprehensive understanding of the contributions and experiences of African Americans throughout history, no harm in that, right? My question remains, what took so long, but I digress.
However, DeSantis has declined to allow Florida schools to offer this new course. In a statement, he argued that he did not want to “indoctrinate” students. Remember, DeSantis did pass a bill prohibiting white “discomfort.” He claims that the teaching of Black History, which is American History (the Black part) would make white children feel guilty. What DeSantis is doing is insidious. He doesn’t want white children to feel empathy, he doesn’t want them to know Black contributions or the Black struggles in America. He feels that “woke” children will grow up to be Democrats. He knows that Republicans aren’t growing their base, so why not shrink the base of Democrats?
Moreover, his decision will have a broader impact on all students in Florida. By declining African American history AP course, the state is sending the message that certain topics are not valued or worthy to study in a society that is becoming increasingly diverse, it is essential students have the opportunity to learn about a wide range of cultures and perspectives. By limiting the subjects that are taught, Republicans deprive students of the knowledge and skills they need to navigate a complex and multicultural world.
We must continue to push back and not allow DeSantis and the rest of the Republicans to destroy public school education. We have to advocate for inclusive, comprehensive education that prepares students for success.