Katie Kerekes, FISM News
Governor Ron DeSantis has defended the Florida Department of Education’s (DOE) rejection of an Advanced Placement (AP) African American Studies Course which he says is progressive “indoctrination.”
The course, titled “African American Studies: Movements and Methods,” was rejected due to a lack of historical accuracy and “educational value,” according to a January 12th letter sent to the College Board by the state’s Office of Articulation.
“As presented, the content of this course is inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value,” the letter reads. “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 governor’s administration has made headlines in previous years for his campaign against leftist ideology, especially in public education. Just last year, he signed legislation that became known as the Stop WOKE Act, which “restricts certain race-based conversations and analysis in schools and businesses,” according to the New York Post.
“We believe in education, not indoctrination,” DeSantis said of the bill.
The governor has faced ongoing criticism for much of the legislative action within his first term, but the backlash has seemed to only strengthen his resolve, as well his popularity amongst Florida voters. The incumbent Republican received 59.4% of the gubernatorial vote last November.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre expressed her disapproval of the course rejection in the briefing room last week, calling the decision “incomprehensible” and accusing DeSantis and his administration of intent to “block” the study of Black Americans.
Following this recent wave of criticism and in response to the backlash from the White House in particular, the governor dug in his heels, and doubled down on the decision.
“Who would say an important part of black history is queer theory? That is somebody pushing an agenda on our kids,” he said during an education press conference Monday. “..and so when you look to see they have stuff about intersectionality, abolishing prisons, that’s a political agenda.”
DeSantis and the state of Florida’s education commissioner maintain that the course was removed with the intent to ensure that Florida students are protected from the indoctrination of critical race theory concepts.
“When you try to use black history to shoehorn in queer theory, you are clearly trying to use that for political purposes,” DeSantis added.
Bryan Griffin, press secretary for the DeSantis administration, said in a statement regarding the rejection:
“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.”