College Board Kicks Off African American History Month With A Slap To The Face


To start off African American History Month, the College Board bowed down to Governor DeSantis and his absurd demands regarding the Advanced Placement African American Studies course. The College Board has yet again proved that education is not their priority, and they would rather appease and bow down to controversy, in order to maintain profit. Governor DeSantis, Florida’s Governor, made the claim that he would ban the curriculum of the course in Florida. His reasoning was that it violated state laws that regulated the teaching of race in classrooms. This is in reference to various laws in the state of Florida banning the teaching of “Critical Race Theory” in schools. The “Stop WOKE Act” is one such bill that Florida has passed to limit conversation around race. The decision to create changes to the AP African American Studies curriculum is an unacceptable issue on its own, but coupled with the fact that they announced these changes on February 1st, the beginning of African American history month, now that is abhorrent.  

The content in question which fueled Governor DeSantis to threaten to ban the curriculum is regarding many, “politically charged,” topics such as, the African American queer experience, Black Lives Matter, Black Feminism, and Critical Race Theory. The curriculum the College Board released on Wednesday, February 1st, was gutted of all of this. This was clearly a direct appeasement to DeSantis, and a measure to ensure the course is allowed to be administered in Florida. The College Board makes most of its profits from, “AP and Instruction,” which includes the AP courses administered in countless schools throughout the nation. The College Board insists that changes were made to the curriculum due to, “the input of professors,” and “long-standing A.P Principles.” David Coleman, head of the College Board said, “we can’t look to statements of political leaders.” His claim regarding the reasons the changes were made to the curriculum is shaky. Time and time again we have seen the College Board bend to the will of various political leaders in order to maintain their curriculum being taught in classrooms across the country.

We have seen the College Board, look to the statements of political leaders, before this situation as well. In 2015 there was pushback on certain parts of the AP U.S. History curriculum. The Republican National Committee was especially against the framework of the course. They said it, “emphasizes negative aspects of our nation’s history while omitting or minimizing positive aspects.” Later on, the College Board released a “clearer and more balanced,” framework for the course which added much of the content many conservatives, and the Republican National Committee, pushed for.  As for the College Board’s claim of changing the curriculum due to, “the input of professors,” various professors like Professor Crenshaw, discussed how essential these excluded topics are to the coursework for the AP African American Studies course. Crenshaw brings forth the topic of intersectionality and how it is crucial in a course such as this. She was actually the professor who coined the term, “intersectionality,” back in the late 1980s.

Intersectionality is one of the most essential topics when it comes to African American history. You can’t speak about the experience of African Americans in history without talking about the differences in the lives of Black men and women, and that of queer African Americans. The lives of these people are vastly different due to these factors. African American history is not simply about just Black men, or any one sort of group within the African American identity, and that should be reflected in the course. Additionally, Black Lives Matter (BLM) is an essential, and very pivotal movement in the history of African Americans. The movement has marked an upturn in racial justice and activism in the United States. To omit BLM from the curriculum is just simply not teaching history.

As a current AP student, who has his entire schedule filled with AP classes, I’m disgusted by the College Board’s actions. This blatant disrespect for education and turn to appeasing political leaders in the name of profit is appalling. Something has to be done about the quite frankly corrupt organization- which is the College Board. You might be wondering what YOU as a student can do about this. The College Board makes a profit off of AP classes, so if there were to be a mass boycott of AP classes, it would definitely elicit a reaction from the College Board. America’s youth could have control over the College Board, it is just a matter of us turning our backs on them. Like, they turned their backs on African Americans.