The Removal of AP African American Studies in Schools Across Florida

Ishitha Panguluri, Editor-In-Chief

AP African American Studies was announced in August and five months later, this AP course has been ruled to be removed from the curriculum of Florida Schools by Governor Ron DeSentis. With this new change, students around campus interpret and put their perspective on the impact this course has on a school that is demographically diverse and these students feel that this course holds historical value.

“Five AP Art classes are in our course electives”,Evan Brush,11, questioned “Why can’t we have one additional AP history class?”

Brush expressed that many of the AP classes that are offered, specifically in the art and humanities, seem to repeat and there are multiple of these classes being offered on campus. With AP World History, AP US History, AP European History, he sees no problem with fitting an additional class that will play the same significant value to many of the students around campus.

Seeing such an intricate topic being discussed in a school course will attract students to learn about the soil America has been built on. Brush adds on that this will continue the timeline that is being taught with the AP History courses.

“If not having this class as an AP class, offering this class as a regular class will allow students who are interested to take it.”

Meg Lewandowski, AP Capstone Teacher and Assistant Chief Reader for College Board explained her side of reasoning behind the removal of this class and what our school can do about this.

“I don’t believe that this is necessarily a school issue, this is more of a district/state issue,” Lewandowski said. “School boards should review and potentially rebrand current curriculum expectations for courses such as US History as well as current course offerings in African American Studies.”

Lewandowski expressed that she thinks the banning of this class is discouraging because upon reading what the class is about, it will incorporate concepts of history that are often neglected in traditional history courses.

Matthew Smith, Assistant Principal of Curriculum at Freedom, shared his thoughts on the removal of this class in Florida schools.

“I would not call this a ban, but rather a temporary halt until the college board is timed to review the curriculum.

According to Smith, the process that resulted in the removal of this class in the Florida school curriculum was calculated.

“The Department of Education reviewed all the topics of African American History and 75% of it was approved,” Smith said. “There was about 25% that they felt was not actually about the historical parts of how African Americans came through the United States over the years.”

College Board agreed to go back to review the 25% to rewrite the curriculum, with Florida having every intention to approve it.

What does that mean for the Florida Students?

“This means that it will be very unlikely to see this course on the schedule for the 2023-24 school year,” Smith said. “But there are a plethora of opportunities to be the advocate and voice what the students want to change.”

Smith encourages students to write letters to the Florida Governor, because of the sentimental value of this specific course.

“Ultimately, it’s all about the student’s interest. Creating a petition and getting students to sign to have a class taught at our school is one of the many ways to have your voice heard. Essentially, this school is for our students, and it all comes from the interest of the student,” Smith said, “The wonderful thing about living in America is everybody has the right to peacefully demonstrate their opinions and talk to their congressmen, their state legislature, or even to the governor. Everybody should be able to exercise that right of free speech and press.”