AP African American studies revised framework released after conservative backlash

The piloted framework was criticized by conservatives.

February 1, 2023, 3:24 PM

The College Board released its official framework Wednesday for the incoming Advanced Placement African American Studies course after weeks of debate and criticism from conservatives over the course content.

The course was first piloted during this 2022-23 school year in just 60 schools and will be expanded to hundreds of additional schools for the next round of pilot courses in the 2023-24 school year.

All schools can begin offering AP African American Studies in the 2024-25 school year.

"This course is an unflinching encounter with the facts and evidence of African American history and culture," said David Coleman, CEO of the College Board, in a press release.

The College Board said it consulted more than 300 African American Studies professors from more than 200 colleges across the country to build the coursework.

"No one is excluded from this course: the Black artists and inventors whose achievements have come to light; the Black women and men, including gay Americans, who played pivotal roles in the civil rights movement; and people of faith from all backgrounds who contributed to the antislavery and civil rights causes. Everyone is seen," Coleman's statement read.

PHOTO: Governor Ron DeSantis gestures during a news conference where he spoke of new law enforcement legislation that will be introduced during the upcoming session, Jan. 26, 2023, in Miami.
Governor Ron DeSantis gestures during a news conference where he spoke of new law enforcement legislation that will be introduced during the upcoming session, Jan. 26, 2023, in Miami.
Marta Lavandier/AP, FILE

The official framework is missing some of its most controversial material – including lessons on intersectionality, Black queer studies, Black Lives Matter and critical race theory, which particularly angered conservatives.

However, some of the topics will or can be broached within other subjects as projects.

It is standard for the College Board to pilot and revise its course framework, saying the "frameworks often change significantly as a result."

College Board did not say if recent critics had any bearing on the final result.

PHOTO: An undated stock photo of a classroom.
An undated stock photo of a classroom.
STOCK PHOTO/Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' Department of Education initially rejected the course on Jan. 12 in a letter obtained by ABC News, calling it "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 taught "kids to hate our country or to hate each other," according to DeSantis in a 2021 statement on the law.

However, the law has been temporarily blocked from impacting higher education and is being battled in the courts.

Several Florida students said they plan to sue the state and DeSantis over the state's rejection of the course.

"There are many gaps in American history regarding the African American population," one student said at the press conference. "The implementation of an AP African American History class could fill in those gaps."

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump urged DeSantis and the state to negotiate with the College Board to allow AP African American studies to avoid the lawsuit.

State DOE Communications Director Alex Lanfranconi called the potential lawsuit "nothing more than a meritless publicity stunt."

The Florida DOE said it would reconsider its decision pending review of the official framework.

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