TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The governor is now speaking out about his administration’s decision to scrap a continuing education course focused on African-American studies.

The state said the high school classroom violates state law.

Gov. Ron DeSantis provided more clarity Monday, saying it was pushing a political agenda.

Earlier this month, the Florida Department of Education sent that letter to the College Board, which administers Advanced Placement, or AP, courses, saying the course is “inexplicably inconsistent with Florida law.”

It also says it “significantly lacks educational value.”

The College Board website states that the AP African American Studies course is currently being piloted in 60 schools across the country. The course, according to the website, focuses on “how African Americans have shaped America, its laws, history, institutions, culture and art, and even the current practice of American democracy.”

However, the governor said Monday that when he and the Florida Department of Energy looked further, they found it did not meet their standards.

“The problem is that Florida has guidelines and standards; we want education, not upbringing. And if you side with parenting, we’ll back down. If it’s education, we’ll do it.”

According to the Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. tweeted Friday that they “proudly demand the teaching of African-American history” but “do not accept an ideology masquerading as education.”

He then shared a list of problems the department had with the course.

DeSantis appeals to scrap AP African-American studies

Among the six topics identified by the agency, some lacked a critical perspective or balanced opinion. Other topics, such as Queer Studies and Movements for Black Lives, had testimony that the department believed pushed an agenda such as prison abolition.

“I don’t think it’s unfair to say that prison abolition is about the black experience. If that’s what black people want, I don’t think that’s true at all. I think they want law and order as much as everyone else wants law and order, so more ideology is being used under the guise of history, and we want to make history.”

He continued: “We believe that children should be taught facts and to think, and we don’t believe that anything should be imposed on them. When you try to use black history as a horn for queer theory, you’re clearly trying to use it for political purposes.’

However, not everyone agrees with the governors’ point of view. Tallahassee religious and local leaders shared their concerns about the move Monday morning.

“This is not about politics. It’s about heritage, it’s about history,” shares Pastor RB Holmes. “When you devalue my story and say it has no educational value and no educational merit, that’s insulting to us.”

And this problem has even attracted the attention of the White House in recent days. The administration cited disagreement with the DeSantis administration’s view on education. At the Florida Capitol, House Minority Leader Fenice Driskel shared her disagreement with the governor’s words.

“In a state as big and diverse as Florida, I’m so disappointed that the governor said that, and I just don’t understand how he doesn’t know or understand that African American history is American history and that’s absolutely something that needs to be taught. in our schools.”

This latest denial of the AP course comes after Governor DeSantis passed what is known to many as the “Stop the Wake Act.” It bans critical race theory and what the governor sees as corporate awakening in schools and workplaces.

The Florida 24 Network has reached out to the college board for further comment on the governor’s concerns. As of Monday afternoon, they had not responded.

But they said last week that the course, like their other AP courses, is undergoing a rigorous, multi-year pilot phase, gathering feedback from faculty, students, academics and policymakers.

They also said they will release an updated course structure when it is finalized. The course does not currently have a public curriculum, but is scheduled to be taught in classrooms in the 2024-2025 academic year.

As for Florida, the Department of Energy said it would reconsider its decision if the Collegeboard provided what it believed to be legitimate, historically accurate content

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