College Board Slams the New York Times for Misrepresenting Its African American Studies Course After DeSantis Controversy

February 1, 2023

In a letter posted on their website, the College Board denounced the New York Times for their coverage of an official AP African American Studies course framework, calling it a “Gross misrepresentation of the content of the course and the process by which it was developed.” 

The New York Times article, The College Board Strips Down Its A.P. Curriculum for African American Studies frames the changes in just such a political manner, beginning the piece by stating, “After criticism from Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, the official course looks different: No more critical race theory, and the study of contemporary topics — like Black Lives Matter — is optional.” Apparently unhappy with the changes made to the framework, the Times article goes on to lament the deletion of material, authors, and resources related to a plethora of modern hot button topics, some of which arguably have less connection to African American studies than others.

The College Board disagrees, writing, “The Times reporting is rife with inaccuracies. Despite their claim that Black feminism is “purged” from the course, the facts are that the course framework explicitly includes this material as required content. That section, Black Women and Movements, can be seen below:”

The Board continues, “The Times reports that gay experience is not in the course, but deliberately ignores that several explicit references to gay Black Americans were included. In addition to the previous material about the role of Black lesbians, a section was also included in the Civil Rights Movement portion calling out Bayard Rustin and Pauli Murray by name and noting their contributions as required content.”

Regarding the timing of the release and the supposed impact of DeSantis on the revisions to the course, the Board states, “The Times argues the revisions were made in response to Florida, despite the fact that the College Board has time-stamped records of revisions from December 22, 2022. The article simply ignored that the core revisions were substantially complete – including the removal of all secondary sources – by December 22, weeks before Florida’s objections were shared. The fact of the matter is that this landmark course has been shaped over years by the most eminent scholars in the field, not political influence.”

Some of the material in the leaked version of the framework DeSantis and the Florida Department of Education found concerning is listed below. The Florida DOE indicated that reconsideration of the course would be given if the framework were satisfactorily revised.

Florida Department of Education concerns with the proposed framework material

DeSantis influence or not, if you compare the official framework to the leaked version, much of the controversial material identified by critics of CRT/Leftist ideologies appears to have been removed. The concern was primarily with Unit Four of the course (Movements and Debates). If you believe the College Board however, the inclusion of such material may have simply been shifted around to other sections and/or revised in a less obvious manner. Check out the frameworks for yourself and make your own judgment.

Below is the official framework of Unit Four (click the link above for the entire document).

Below is the prior unofficial leaked version of Unit Four for comparison (click the above link for the full version of the leaked material).

The vast majority of the course appears to be well received and unobjectionable (both before and after the revisions). Will the revisions be satisfactory in the eyes of DeSantis and the Florida Department of Education? That remains to be seen. States do have some role to play in determining general frameworks and curriculums, as they have a duty to protect the interests of both taxpayers and children. Their role however must be limited, as too much state involvement is as objectionable in itself as any material. The threat subversive doctrines and/or biased material presents to children exists well beyond any state-reviewed framework however, as ought to be clear from reviewing any such guidelines. Educators have the frontline responsibility to present the material not only accurately, but from a perspective compatible with American principles and not harmful to any specific people or groups. much of this is up to them regardless of what the guidelines say. This is why parental involvement and school board accountability is so important; there must be checks upon all such influences that have access to the minds of the next generations. This education fight between the “Left and Right” in American politics (and even in-fighting among supposed allies) over curriculums and course frameworks is indicative of the extreme fundamental moral and ideological divide that exists in the country today – and it is indicative of how important it is that reasonable people win the fight.

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