College Board will release an updated version of its Advanced Placement course in African American studies next week after Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R-Fla.) administration rejected initial plans for a pilot program in Florida high schools.
Florida's Department of Education blocked the course last week, arguing in a letter that the curriculum "is inexplicably contrary to Florida law” and "significantly lacks educational value.”
Now, College Board is set to update its official framework for the AP African American studies course and release revisions on Feb. 1, the first day of Black History Month.
In a statement shared with The Hill Wednesday, College Board didn't say that the updated framework it plans to release next month was spurred by Florida's opposition, but rather that it was a part of a longer process of revising the course with feedback from a 60-city pilot program.
"This framework, under development since March 2022, replaces the preliminary pilot course framework under discussion to date," College Board said.
"Before a new AP course is made broadly available, it is piloted in a small number of high schools to gather feedback from high schools and colleges. The official course framework incorporates this feedback and defines what students will encounter on the AP Exam for college credit and placement," the statement continued. The course itself has been in development for more than a decade.
Florida officials, however, are saying the changes are a response to DeSantis’s criticisms. In recent remarks on education, DeSantis argued that the course was "indoctrination" and a way to "shoehorn in queer theory" through Black history "for political purposes."
“Thanks to @GovRonDeSantis' principled stand for education over identity politics, the College Board will be revising the course for the entire nation,” said DeSantis’s press secretary Bryan Griffin on Twitter Tuesday.
Florida's education department said in a statement Wednesday that it is "glad the College Board has recognized that the originally submitted course curriculum is problematic" and plans to review the updated framework, which it expects will have removed "content on Critical Race Theory, Black Queer Studies, Intersectionality and other topics that violate our laws."
The Florida governor’s decision to block the AP course drew criticism, with the White House calling the block against the course “incomprehensible.”
Many likened the move to DeSantis’s effort to prohibit Florida teachers from discussing gender or sexuality in classrooms with young children, and his ongoing war on what he sees as “woke indoctrination” in schools.