Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday that the state is blocking a new advanced placement course in African American studies because it includes references to “queer theory” and advocates for “abolition of prisons.” The study of political movements.
“It’s a political agenda,” DeSantis said at a news conference in Jacksonville. “This is the wrong side of the Florida standard. We believe in teaching kids facts and how to think, but we don’t think they should have an agenda when you try to impose queer theory with black history, you’re clearly trying to It is used for political purposes.”
DeSantis’ remarks were his first public statement about the state’s rejection of a new proposed AP multidisciplinary study of the African-American diaspora that would include literature, art, science, politics and geography. The Florida Department of Education informed the College Board of its decision in a Jan. 12 letter that was made public last week and drew widespread criticism from black Florida leaders and the White House.
The department told CNN on Friday that it has concerns about six themes of study in the yearlong course, such as the movement for Black Lives, black feminism and reparations. Much of the objection has to do with the inclusion of texts from modern black thought leaders and history teachers whose writings the DeSantis administration argues violate state law. Under DeSantis, Florida banned the teaching of critical race theory and passed new legislation last year banning directives that suggest that anyone is privileged or oppressed because of their race or color.
DeSantis emphasized at his news conference that Florida requires black history to be taught, but the state has determined that the optional AP course violates state law.
“We want to study history, and that’s our standard for black history. It’s just history that’s been cut and dried,” DeSantis said. “You learn all the basics about great people, you know, I look at it as American history. I don’t think of it as separate history. You know, we have a lot of history in many different shapes and sizes, participating in making the country Great people, people who stand up in difficult times, they all deserve to be taught. But abolishing prisons taught to high school students as if it were the truth? No, no, that’s inappropriate.”