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In New Revision, Slavery, BLM, Other Topics Covered in AP African American Studies Curriculum

An earlier pilot course faced opposition from Florida Gov. DeSantis, who said it had a ‘woke’ agenda.

The College Board, a non-profit overseeing Advanced Placement coursework, released a revised framework Wednesday (Dec. 6) for its AP African American Studies course. A preliminary pilot version of the course faced sharp criticism from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

This revised curriculum officially launches for the 2024 -2025 school year and relied on input from a group of scholars that included subject-matter experts and experienced AP teachers, the College Board said.

They developed the revision “amid intense public debate over this course,” the statement noted. 

DeSantis complained that the pilot course had a “woke” agenda, pointing to topics such as the Black Lives Matter movement and the Black LGBTQ experience. He directed the state education department to ban the course, claiming it “lacks educational value” and violated state law.

Florida Gov. DeSantis Defends Banning AP African American Studies In State High Schools

CNN reports that the revised framework covers various topics, from early African kingdoms and the transatlantic slave trade to Reconstruction and the Civil Rights Movement. It adds images of the Tulsa Race Massacre, redlining maps and new content on Black Americans in World War II.

Topics on BLM and reparations, which Florida and several other GOP-led states find controversial, are listed as suggested issues for discussion that should not be part of the AP exam.

“This course is a vibrant introduction to a dynamic field that offers a broader perspective. It invites students to develop analytical skills while examining African Americans’ wide-ranging experiences, contributions, and creativity, and the impact of the broader African diaspora on the world we live in,” Brandi Waters, senior director and program manager of African American Studies in the Advanced Placement Program, said in a statement.

“This is the course I wish I had in high school,” Waters added. “I hope every interested student has the opportunity to take it.”

Nearly 700 schools are piloting the course in the current academic year across 40 states and Washington, D.C., reaching approximately 13,000 students.

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