DeSantis faces backlash after Florida rejects African American studies course : NPR
The Florida department of education, under the leadership of Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, rejected an Advanced Placement course on African American studies. The decision is prompting a wave of backlash across the country — from other state legislatures to labor unions and even a potential lawsuit.
“One governor should not have the power to dictate the facts of United States history,” Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker, a Democrat, said in a letter to the College Board, which develops the AP courses that help high school students across the country earn college credit. .
On Wednesday, civil rights attorney Ben Crump announced that three Florida high school students are set to challenge the state’s decision in court.
Becky Pringle, president of the National Education Association, the nation’s largest labor union, was also present when Crump made the announcement.
“When we censor classrooms and whitewash lesson plans, we do our students a disservice and a great disservice,” Pringle he tweeted. “I support educators at the Florida state Capitol today to demand a complete and honest education for all Florida students.”
When we censor classrooms and whitewash lesson plans, we harm our students and do them a great disservice.
I support educators at the Florida state Capitol today to demand a complete and honest education for all Florida students. pic.twitter.com/4D6R9QkqoA
— Becky Pringle (@BeckyPringle) January 25, 2023
Pringle, along with more than 28,000 others as of Thursday afternoon, sign a petition asks the Florida State Board of Education to approve the course.
“It is clear that Fl. Gov. DeSantis has been using Black students as political pawns in his quest to build conservative power and outrage, and the Florida State Board of Education (SBE) has been allowing him, ” reads the petition.
The president of another labor union, the American Federation of Teachers, also publicly denounced the Florida decision.
“AP courses are a way to help build critical thinking skills – to learn new information and apply it to life,” union president Randi Weingarten, he tweeted. “How can Gov. DeSantis erase all of Black history?”
AP courses are a way to help build critical thinking skills – to learn new information and apply it to life. How can Gov. DeSantis erase all of Black history? This is a shame. @fedinggram & I am asking the Government to give priority to the children and their future over his political future. pic.twitter.com/6lEYJoK7rx
— Randi Weingarten 🇺🇦🇺🇸💪🏿👩🎓 (@rweingarten) January 21, 2023
Pritzker, the governor of Illinois, enter a letter to College Board CEO David Coleman asked the organization “to preserve the fundamental right to an education that does not follow the political grandstanding of Governor DeSantis and the whims of the Republicans in Florida.”
“I urge you to maintain your reputation as an academic institution dedicated to advanced students and refuse to bow to political pressure that asks you to rewrite the true, if sometimes unpleasant, history of our nation,” Pritzker added.
Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images
The NAACP also denounced the Florida decision as “whitesplaining.”
“The move to censor topics like intersectionality, the Black Lives Matter movement, and reparations is nothing more than an assault on African-American history and worldviews – effectively explain subjects that are integral to the development of American history, culture and identity,” Ivory Toldson, director of educational innovation and research for the civil rights group, he wrote in an op-ed.
Florida state Senator Shevrin Jones also shared his disapproval of tweeting that Florida is “the place to #Don’tSayBlack,” a reference to a controversial education bill that would ban discussion of sexual orientation through the third grade.
New York Rep. Ritchie Torres, a Democrat, echoed the same sentiment on Twittersaid, “Florida went from Don’t Say Gay to Don’t Say Black.”
Meanwhile, in the schools where the pilot program is already being carried out, both students and teachers are grateful for the course.
“We talk about the arts,” Alex Janke, who teaches at a predominantly Black high school in Milwaukee that offers the program, told NPR “We talk about cultural trends. We talk about the diaspora outside the United States as well , which may not be included in any other classes I’ve taught before.”
Florida rejected the course because officials, including DeSantis, said it contributed to a “political agenda.”
“Education is about the pursuit of truth, not the imposition of an ideology or the advancement of a political agenda,” DeSantis he tweeted both.
After the state rejected the course, the College Board announced Tuesday that it will be releasing a new revised version of the course on Feb. 1, the first day of History Month. – Black.
In its announcement, the organization said it is using “the contributions of experts, teachers and students” in its reviews.