Nobody said that Ron DeSantis doesn’t have a sense of timing: two weeks before the start of Black History Month comes this bit of brilliance.
Florida will not recognize a newly created Advanced Placement African American studies course, with officialsarguing that the lessons are illegal under state law and that the class “significantly lacks educational value.”
The decision is the latest volley in Gov. Ron DeSantis’s long-running war on what he considers to be overly “woke” curriculum. The Republican governor is widely seen as positioning himself for a possible presidential run in 2024 and has made culture-war issues central to his political identity.
Florida’slegislature has enacted laws limiting how teachers can talk about subjects including race. A measure signed last spring, for instance, seeks to ensure that students are not made to feel guilty for racist acts carried out by others. “A person should not be instructed that he or she must feel guilt, anguish, or other forms of psychological distress for actions, in which he or she played no part,” the law states.
It was not clear, though, exactly what in the new AP class runs afoul of those limitations.
The decision was communicated to the College Board, which runs the AP program, in a letter last week that was released to reporters Thursday.
“In its current form, the College Board’s AP African American Studies course lacks educational value and is contrary to Florida law,” Cassie Palelis, spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Education, said in a statement. “If the course comes into compliance and incorporates historically accurate content, the Department will reopen the discussion.”
She said that under Florida law, districts need state approval to offer a course to their students.
The AP African American studies course, an interdisciplinary class that draws from history, literature, political science, art and other subjects, is being piloted in about 60 public high schools across the country, the first new course offering from the College Board since 2014. It was unclear whether any Florida schools are included in the pilot program.
I’m not saying that Ron DeSantis is racist. No, not at all.
Something to soothe the nerves.