Illinois Gov. Pritzker hits DeSantis, warns of Florida’s ‘racist and homophobic laws’ amid AP controversy
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker is hitting Florida Governor Ron DeSantis after his administration decided to block the College Board’s African American Studies AP course from being taught in the state.
Pritzker aired his objections in a letter to the College Board on Wednesday, urging them to leave the African American Studies AP course untouched after reports that they are considering making changes after DeSantis’ administration rejected it, according to a letter obtained by Politico from the Illinois governor.
“I am writing to you today to urge the College Board to preserve the fundamental right to an education that does not follow the political grandstanding of Governor DeSantis and the whims of Republicans in Florida,” Pritzker wrote. “We value Advanced Placement courses in this state and have no doubt as to the efficacy of the program. However, I am extremely troubled by recent news reports that claim Governor DeSantis is pressuring the College Board to change the AP African American Studies course in order to fit Florida’s racist and homophobic laws.”
Bryan Griffin, DeSantis’ press secretary, said in a statement that the Florida Department of Education rejected the African American Studies AP course because it “lacks educational value and historical accuracy.”
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“As submitted, the course is a vehicle for a political agenda and leaves large, ambiguous gaps that can be filled with additional ideological material, which we will not allow. As Governor DeSantis has stated, our classrooms will be a place for education, not indoctrination,” the spokesperson said.
DeSantis’ spokesperson pointed to a Florida statute which requires the teaching of African American history K-12 education throughout the state, and also provided a list of concerns that the state’s department of education found within the course, which includes the “Reparations Movement,” “Movements for Black Lives,” and “Black Queer Studies.”
Addressing the College Board, the Florida Department of Education’s Office of Articulation states that the course is “inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value. In the future, should College Board be willing to come back to the table with lawful, historically accurate content, FDOE will always be willing to reopen the discussion.”
The College Board website states that the AP African American studies course is currently in a pilot phase and will be available to all high schools in the 2024-2025 academic year.
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The College Board states that the course is “designed to offer high school students an evidence-based introduction to African American studies.”
After criticism from the DeSantis administration, the College Board said that it will be releasing the official framework for the course on February 1.
“On Wednesday, February 1, the first day of Black History Month, the Advanced Placement Program will release the official framework for the AP African American Studies course. This framework, under development since March 2022, replaces the preliminary pilot course framework under discussion to date,” reads a statement from the College Board on Tuesday.
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Griffin viewed this as a reversal, and said on Twitter that it’s “excellent news.”
“Excellent news. Thanks to @GovRonDeSantis’ principled stand for education over identity politics, the College Board will be revising the course for the entire nation. The Florida Department of Education (@EducationFL) will review the changes for compliance once resubmitted,” Griffin said.
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