Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday doubled down on his decision to ban a course on African American studies, saying the class in question contained ‘queer theory’ and imposed a ‘political agenda’ on the state’s children. 

He defended his new policy during a press conference in Jacksonville in his first public comments on the controversy, which brought heavy criticism on the Republican governor and was seen as the latest attempt by his conservative administration to criticize and even outlaw some educational efforts  about racism and slavery. 

‘When you try to use black history to shoehorn in queer theory, you are clearly trying to use that for political purposes,’ DeSantis said. ‘We want education, not indoctrination.’

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican doubled down on his decision to ban an African American studies course

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican doubled down on his decision to ban an African American studies course

‘We want to do history. That’s what our standards for Black History are. It’s just cut and dried history. You learn all the basics, you learn about the great figures, and you know, I view it as American history. I don’t view it as separate history,’ DeSantis noted.

He argued schools should be ‘focusing on math and reading and all the things that are really, really important.’ 

Florida, last week, in a letter to the College Board Florida Partnership, which runs its Advanced Placement (AP) program, said it would not allow high school students to take a new AP class in African American Studies, because it was ‘inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks education value.’ 

The state does offer AP history courses in European History, Art History, Japanese Language and Culture, German Language and Culture, Italian Language and Culture, and Spanish Language and Culture.

See also  Women ARE choosing careers over having children as new study reveals

White House officials and civil rights leaders slammed DeSantis for the decision.

Vice President Kamala Harris, the first woman and African American to hold that role, spoke with Florida’s House Minority Leader Fentrice Driskell (D) and state Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book (D) on Sunday during her visit to the state marking the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision.

She criticized the move.

‘Every student in our nation should be able to learn about the culture, contributions, and experiences of all Americans – including Black Americans – who shaped our history,’ Harris said to the lawmakers, according to a White House official.

‘Unfortunately, in Florida, extremist so-called leaders ban books, block history classes, and prevent teachers from freely discussing who they are and who they love,’ Harris added. ‘Anyone who bans teaching American history has no right to shape America’s future.’

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Friday called the governor’s decision ‘incomprehensible.’

‘The administration does not dictate any curriculum for local schools,’ she said. ‘That is not something that we do here.’

But, she added, it is ‘incomprehensible’ that DeSantis put forward this ban.

Martin Luther King Jr. III weighed in on Twitter, saying: ‘The State of Florida will allow AP European and American studies – but AP African-American studies is ‘contrary to Florida law? Please explain how this isn´t blatantly racist. Floridians deserve a clear answer.’ 

Florida is one of several states that have banned public schools from teaching Critical Race Theory (CRT), an academic framework that teaches ‘racism is more than the result of individual bias and prejudice. It is embedded in laws, policies and institutions that uphold and reproduce racial inequalities,’ according to the NAACP. Some conservatives view teaching this as inaccurate and harmful. 

In a separate move this week, the presidents of Florida’s state college system said they would not provide funding for courses or activities that ‘compel’ a belief in Critical Race Theory, without pointing to any specific programs that did. 

The African American Studies advanced placement course is new to the College Board. The curriculum was developed through a pilot program this year at 60 high schools. 

It was then supposed to be tested at hundreds of additional schools, before schools across the country would begin offering the program in the 2024-25 school year, with the first AP exam being administered in Spring 2025. 

The program includes a portion written by CRT advocate and legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw that has students look at intersectional discrimination through overlapping racial and gender identities.

Students would also study and analyze speeches made by Malcolm X and members of the Black Panther Party, according to Time magazine. 

DeSantis is said to be considering a 2024 presidential bid but has made no formal announcement. He has, however, outlined his vision for the state, which he calls a place the ‘woke goes to die.’


Source link