Arkansas has warned its schools not to offer any AP African American Studies courses, following along with Florida in trying to erase Black History from education.
New legislation was passed in Arkansas this March which prohibits “teaching that would indoctrinate students with ideologies” such as the fact that racism plays a powerful role in the history of this country.
Central High School, in Little Rock, Arkansas was a keystone site of forced desegregation in 1957, three years after the Supreme Court ruled that race-based segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. Nine black students tried to attend that September, and a mob of over 1000 white protesters threatened their lives until police removed the students from the school. The next day, 1,200 army soldiers were sent by President Eisenhower to escort the students to school. Soldiers patrolled the school for the entire school year to ensure the safety of those nine students.
Under Arkansas’ new law, this event may not be taught in the classrooms of that very same school, as there is no way to present it in an ‘unbiased’ manner, a manner which doesn’t vilify the thousand white men and women who came to threaten violence on nine black children. The law includes protections for teachers to discuss the history of race, but those protections are so vaguely worded and fenced around as to be useless.
AP African American History, which is a college-level course for high school students designed by educational juggernaut College Board, is accepted as a history course by over 200 colleges, including the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. But the stance of the Arkansas Board of Education, led by a Florida transplant who formerly worked under Ron DeSantis, is that it is “not a history course.” Stated without support or comment.
When the College Board tried to water down the same course to meet Florida’s Don’t Say Gay standards earlier this year, the course no longer met the content standards of universities all over the country, nor did it serve its purpose. What Arkansas wants is not education, but a lack of it.