4 states to review AP African American studies class amid Florida's banFeb 18, 2023
Demonstrators protest Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s criticism of an Advanced Placement course on African American studies as they stand outside the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee on Wednesday
At least four more states will review the new Advanced Placement African American studies course
to see if it conflicts with their policies or laws restricting the teaching of race, an indication that the controversy swirling around the class in Florida could spiral
Officials in Arkansas
, North Dakota
said they had questions and planned reviews before deciding whether the new class may be taught in their classrooms. Another four states said no review was planned, but suggested that could change.
“I haven’t seen the course content for this particular course but just from reading certain news reports there are allegations that it contains elements of critical race theory,” said Dale Wetzel, spokesman for the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction. “So we’re going to need to look at it. We don’t want to assign a course code to something that violates state law.”
The course, which covers a wide range of Black history and cultural topics, is being piloted in about 60 classrooms
nationwide this year. The pilot will continue this fall, and the class will be widely available in fall 2024 — unless states block their schools from offering it. In many states, no class can count toward graduation unless it is granted a state-issued course code.
Scholars say the course offers high school students a deep dive into an essential part of the American experience, one mostly confined to college campuses until now. Major topic areas include the African diaspora; freedom, enslavement and resistance; and movements and debates, including the civil rights movement and discussions of identity and culture.
But critics contend that inclusion of political topics, along with the use of certain buzzwords, render the class ripe for indoctrination. The course’s arrival at this moment of supercharged political battles over education has put it into the crosshairs of Republicans who in recent years have subjected schools to an extraordinary degree of scrutiny.
At least 18 states, including Florida, have laws or policies that restrict the teaching of race.