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March 30, 2023
Governor Glenn Youngkin (R-VI) has confirmed that he is conducting a review on the College Board’s Advanced Placement African American studies course. Youngkin’s decision follows a national debate over the curriculum that kicked off after the course was rejected by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
“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,” Macaulay Porter, who is Youngkin’s spokesperson, said in a statement to ABC News.
Youngkin’s Executive Order 1, which was signed in January 2022, restricts or limits “inherently divisive concepts” and “critical race theory” teaching in schools.
Youngkin opened a hotline which allowed residents to report instances where divise content and critical race theory were taught in schools.
The Associated Press confirmed that after the hotline was flooded with unrelated topics, it was discontinued.
Those who are against such policies, including educators, scholars and parents have expressed concerns have said that this censorship will prevent essential discussions about racism and diversity in schools.
“The president of Loudoun County’s NAACP, Pastor Michelle Thomas, finds Youngkin being involved in a school discussion on Black history and slavery, after ordering a review of ‘AP African Studies’ classes troubling,” the local NAACP chapter said in a tweet.
Bryn Taylor, who is a graduate student at the University of Florida, said that the state of Florida’s decision to reject AP studies would “take us back in social progress” and only the privileged would benefit from higher education.
Andrew Gothard, the president of the United Faculty of Florida union, said that one common complaint is that “nobody really knows what the governor and the Office of the Governor are looking for here.”
Critical race theory is a study that looks into how racism has shaped laws in the United States.
“Students in a higher education classroom should be educated on what this is, so that then they can make their own decisions about how they feel about it,” Gothard said.
DeSantis’ Department of Education said the course was “inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value.”
Florida’s “Stop WOKE” Act restricts certain race-related content in workplaces, schools and colleges in the state. Supporters of the legislation argued that some lessons on race and diversity taught “kids to hate our country or to hate each other,” according to DeSantis said in a 2021 statement made about critical race theory.
Civil rights lawyer Ben Crump has threatened to sue the state if Florida does not teach critical race theory.
“If he does not negotiate with the College Board to allow AP African American studies to be taught in classrooms across the state of Florida, that these three young people will be the lead plaintiffs,” Crump said.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: LUKE MOCHERMAN
PHOTO CREDIT: WRIC