After a six-month review, students in Virginia are now permitted to take an AP African American studies course designed by the College Board.
According to local station WTOP, the Virginia Department of Education ruled that the course was not in conflict with Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s first executive order which sought to eradicate Critical Race Theory (CRT) from public schools.
The state’s Department of Education said that the course will be offered in several Virginia schools this year, which is the final year of the College Board’s pilot.
“At the governor’s request, Secretary Guidera conducted a review of the AP African American Studies course,” a spokesperson for Youngkin said, according to WRIC. “After a thorough analysis, the Secretary of Education has determined that the AP African American Studies course meets executive order one standards and the pilot will be offered in some Virginia schools this coming fall.”
During Black History Month this year, the College Board released the rubric for the African American Studies course created with over 300 African American Studies professors from various colleges across the country. The coursework was split up into units covering “the origins of the African diaspora, scholarship on freedom, enslavement and resistance, the practice of freedom, and movements and debates.”
“This course is an unflinching encounter with the facts and evidence of African American history and culture,” said David Coleman, CEO of the College Board a statement about the framework of the course “No one is excluded from this course: the Black artists and inventors whose achievements have come to light; the Black women and men, including gay Americans, who played pivotal roles in the civil rights movement; and people of faith from all backgrounds who contributed to the antislavery and civil rights causes."
Robert J. Patterson, a Professor of African American Studies at Georgetown University and co-chair of the committee developing the program, said the course is more robust than his introductory African American Studies course every semester.
“Since its inception, the development of the AP African American Studies course has been an ongoing, iterative process that calls upon the expertise of teachers, professors, and experts who understand the key concepts, themes, and methodologies of African American Studies and this refining process, which is a part of all AP courses, has operated independently from political pressure,” Patterson said.
Following Florida's lead who initially blocked the course, the Youngkin administration requested that revisions be made to the course to ensure that no “divisive concepts were not included to be in alignment with the governor’s executive orders
“After numerous reports about draft course content, the governor asked the Education Secretariat to review the College Board’s proposed AP African American Studies course as it pertains to Executive Order 1,” said Macaulay Porter, a Youngkin spokeswoman.
The state’s decision was highly criticized by numerous organizations including the state’s NAACP chapter.
“There should be no question as to whether African American Studies is a worthy topic of study from an administration that stated a desire to teach all of American history,” the chapter said in a statement.
Currently, the course is offered in some Fairfax and Arlington County Schools.
Beginning next school year, all high schools in the state will be able to offer the class.