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Sunday, December 10, 2023


College Board’s revised African American Studies framework changes curriculum

Jose Gonzalez-Campelo/The Cougar

The College Board released its revised Advanced Placement African American studies course after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis critiqued and rejected the subject’s content and said it “significantly lacks educational value.”

African American Studies department Chair Tara Green outlined the revisions and the effects that it has on the course itself. 

A concern among scholars in the field is that the revision reflects the misconceived notion that the AP curriculum was lacking in quality,” Green said. “When, in fact, it had been developed by scholars in the field who teach at well-known and well-respected universities across the nation.”

Green stated that various changes were made, but the most alarming is the elimination of Black queer studies from the final frameworks. She noted that this change makes the curriculum “less inclusive and less diverse.”

The framework also excluded intersectionality, Black feminist literary thought and the origin of the Black Lives Matter movement. 

DeSantis’ administration rejected the College Board’s course asserting that it violates Florida state law on how race is taught within their public schools.

“Who would say that an important part of black history is queer theory, that is somebody pushing an agenda on our kids,” DeSantis said in a CNN report. “When you look to see they have stuff about intersectionality, abolishing prisons, that’s a political agenda.” 

African American Studies has grown over the years, including at UH where it houses one of the oldest departments in the country, according to Green. The University’s AAS department’s mission statement highlights promoting intellectual knowledge of the studies with a commitment to cultural and historical heritage.

Students can now pursue doctorates in African American Studies, Africana Studies and African Studies. There are thousands of scholars across the world who study Black people and their cultures, Green said.

“As for the AP course, it has no effect on that growth, but it may entice other people to learn more about what we do,” Green said. “They should know that African American Studies scholars in higher education have been hired because we are knowledgeable in our fields. If people want to know more about our work, talk to us, take our courses, read our publications.”

While the College Board and DeSantis’ administration have received backlash for its watered-down curriculum, the changes in the curriculum have no impact on how the University’s AAS department will continue teaching.

“As we know, college is a place of discovery and we will continue to offer educational experiences where students can and will discover new knowledge,” Green said. “I applaud students who are taking the courses at the high school level and those who are taking AAS courses at UH. We welcome you in AAS.”

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