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OPINION: A.P. African American studies course needs to be revised

The proposed A.P. African American Studies course cannot pass while it still includes queer theory. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE/FLICKR

Gov. Ron DeSantis rejected the proposed Advanced Placement (A.P.) African American studies high school course due to violations of the Stop W.O.K.E Act, as stated in a Jan. 19 article from the Tampa Bay Times. 

The A.P. African American studies course includes queer theory in its curriculum and needs to be revised because queer theory is not a part of African American studies.

DeSantis has begun a sweep, cleaning up and revising Florida’s educational standards. His Stop W.O.K.E. Act started the wave of educational revamping on Dec. 15, 2021 by prohibiting critical race theory from being taught in schools. 

As part of this revision, the governor is putting a hold on A.P. African American studies.  

In the state of Florida, African American studies is required in the K-12 curriculum, according to the Florida Department of Education. The A.P. course is an optional college-level course for high school students.  

Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib stated in a Jan. 24 tweet that banning the A.P. African American studies course is blocking American history.

DeSantis is not outlawing African American studies from the school system by putting a hold on A.P. African American studies. The Governor stated that he is open to course revisions in a letter to the College Board, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

One of the problems DeSantis has with the A.P. course is that it includes queer theory, according to a Jan. 23 educational press conference

This section includes readings from Yale professor Roderick Ferguson, who argues that queer history is intertwined with African American theory, as reported in a Jan. 25 article by Fox 13. 

“These are real histories. The arguments about them are based on scholarly investigation and research,” he said in the article.

At the press conference, DeSantis rejected the idea that queer history has a place in a Black history course.

“Who would say an important part of Black history is queer theory? That is someone pushing an agenda on our kids,” said DeSantis.

When asked about the topic, DeSantis said he believes in “teaching kids facts and how to think,” not political agendas.  

A history class about African Americans is not a sexual and gender identities class – it is a history class about African American culture.

Other political leaders share DeSantis’ view on the A.P. course.

Democratic County Commissioner Bill Proctor stated that the course misrepresents African American history.

“I’m against the College Board’s curriculum. I think it’s trash. It’s not African American history. It is ideology,” he stated in a Jan. 28 article by the Tallahassee Report.  

Proctor has served as a Professor at Florida A&M University teaching government courses.  

“I’ve taught African American history, I’ve structured syllabuses for African American history. I am African American history. And talking about ‘queer’ and ‘feminism’ and all of that for the struggle for freedom and equality and justice has not been no tension with queerness and feminist thought at all,” he said.

FL Senator Shevrin Jones tweeted his concern over DeSantis blocking the A.P. course.

DeSantis wanting to revise a high school course on African American studies does not mean he is attacking or demolishing Black history.  

Having a rigorous African American studies course is important to teach kids in order for them to learn more about cultural history. Yet, A..P African American studies needs to showcase actual African American history, not queer theory.  

If educators want to incorporate a course on queer theory, then that idea needs to be pitched to the Florida Course Code Directory – not incorporated into a history class.

The A.P. course needs to take out the information on queer theory and make room for more information pertaining to the important culture that helped build America.