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Advanced Placement African American Studies

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One Advanced Placement (AP) Course has sparked a heated debate among educators and policymakers: Advanced Placement African American Studies.

A pilot program for the course was already being taught in classrooms across the U.S., until the College Board announced major changes to its curriculum. Some believe these changes were politically motivated – and specifically done to placate Florida Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz Jr., who had several criticisms of the original Advanced Placement African American Studies course. Here’s an overview of the debate to date.

The Pilot Versus The Final Draft

BALTIMORE MD - SEPTEMBER 28, 2022 Joshua Titer looks over his c

Source: The Washington Post / Getty

On the first day of American History Month, the College Board published the official version of the Advanced Placement African American Studies course. Concerned educators, intellectuals and activists immediately noticed that major important sections had been stripped away.

Even though the College Board’s CEO David Coleman claimed the curriculum would be an “unflinching encounter with the facts and evidence of African American history and culture,” some say it’s anything but.

The pilot program had comprehensive sections on intersectionality and activism, Black feminist literary thought and Black Queer studies. Now, critics say most of those have been significantly stripped down – or removed entirely. Additionally, while the pilot course delved into the inspiration behind and goals of the Black Lives Matter movement, the new course eliminates that exploration, instead calling the movement “Illustrative only.”

Sections on the Black queer and Black gay experience have been removed, as have sections on Black feminism. As a result, certain works by some of the most important Black activists, artists and intellectuals are entirely gone.

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