By Karen Stokes
Vice President Harris spoke with Democratic leaders in Florida about Gov. Ron DeSantis’s decision to block an Advanced Placement African American studies course.
“Every student in our nation should be able to learn about the culture, contributions, and experiences of all Americans – including Black Americans – who shaped our history,” Harris said to the lawmakers, according to a White House official.
“Unfortunately, in Florida, extremist so-called leaders ban books, block history classes, and prevent teachers from freely discussing who they are and who they love,” Harris added. “Anyone who bans teaching American history has no right to shape America’s future.”
Florida officials notified the College Board of their decision to block the course in a letter last week.
“The content of this course is inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value,” the Florida Department of Education said in the letter.
The letter did not specify which state law the course violated.
The move from Florida to ban the AP course is just one in a string of policies in a number of conservative-controlled states to restrict how race is taught in schools. Many Republican governors and legislatures have taken aim at critical race theory, an academic concept that looks at how systemic racism has impacted American laws and institutions.
Last week in Arkansas, Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders in one of her first official acts, issued an executive order that bars teachers from talking about race in certain ways.
The College Board, after a decade of development, is testing the African American Studies course at 60 high schools nationwide. No school or state would be required to offer it after its scheduled rollout.
For more than a decade, the AP Program has worked alongside colleges, universities, and secondary schools to create an AP course in African American studies.
Drawing from the expertise and experience of college faculty and teachers across the country, the course is designed to offer high school students an evidence-based introduction to African American studies.
The interdisciplinary course reaches into a variety of fields—literature, the arts and humanities, political science, geography, and science—to explore the vital contributions and experiences of African Americans.