AP Black History class is being revamped, as College Board acknowledges criticism that it watered down its content on slavery and the civic rights movement under conservative pressure.
The College Board is a nonprofit organization that develops standardized tests and curriculums for schools to help promote college-readiness and streamline college admissions processes. Over 6000 schools, from K-12 to post-graduate universities, use their programs and content. (Which deserves its own criticism, but that is a future article.)
This winter, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he would ban using College Board’s AP Black History Class in the state, because he claimed it pushed a political agenda. In response, College Board released their official curriculum, and it immediately drew criticism from both sides.
To the Right, the fact that it spent an ‘undue percentage’ of the teaching matter on slavery in the United States was ‘pushing an agenda,’ trying to make white students feel bad for being white. To anyone aware of African-American history, it vastly underrepresented things like current racism, opposition to the civil rights and black lives matter movements, and any mention of reparations or black queer studies. Both had formerly been part of the curriculum, so that they had apparently been removed made waves.
“We must remain vigilant to ensure that all students have access to an education that prepares them for the future by teaching them the uncensored and full history of the United States,” Johns said. “We cannot, and will not, let the politics of fear and division dictate what our children are taught.”
The redesign of the curriculum, intended for high school juniors and seniors preparing for university, leans into the harder elements of the topic.
“When you come into my courses, you should be familiar with the Rosewood massacre, lynching, Ida B. Wells and other figures,” said David Canton, a history professor at the university of Florida’s African American Studies program. He’s making the point that the entire aim of AP Black History, or any AP course, is to inform students in some depth about what a thorough and complete study of the topic should include.