Don’t Sacrifice African American Studies for Political Grandstanding

Target: Manny Diaz, Jr., Florida Education Commissioner

Goal: Lift block on teaching of AP African American Studies class in high school.

The “hands-off” administration of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is once again inserting itself and asserting its control over the lives and choices of its constituents. In a move touted as a defense against “indoctrination” and “politicizing education,” this administration has prohibited a high school college placement course on African American studies. One might say these politicians are the ones “politicizing,” “indoctrinating,” and—in the words of one prominent Florida politician—“waging a culture war against African Americans.”

The allegations are far from without merit. In announcing a ban of the class, the administration claimed it “significantly lacks educational value.” Apparently, noting the contributions of African Americans in every sector of life—from business to medicine—has no value. Neither does providing students with a fuller understanding of African Americans in this country beyond slavery.

Instead of actually reading and deeply evaluating a curriculum that has gone through years of rigorous vetting, the administration has instead cherry-picked a couple of issues briefly mentioned (such as the debate about reparations and the influence of LGBTQ African Americans) to stir division and justify its baseless claims. More perplexing is the rejection of a course that is not even mandated in high school. Advanced placement (AP) classes are courses that the student chooses to take in order to earn college credits. So, again, an administration that drapes itself in freedom and choice is trying to make decisions for its constituents.

Sign the petition below to demand politicians stay out of the classroom.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Commissioner Diaz,

Governor DeSantis has proclaimed that “we believe in teaching kids facts and how to think.” Why, then, is the Board of Education actively suppressing both aims? The AP African American Studies course you vetoed with nary a single comprehensive or non-political justification is a class meant to go beyond basic knowledge and to dive into issues of critical thinking. Moreover, it is an elective class that is entirely the choice of the students who want to take it.

An administration that proclaims it wants less government intervention and more choices for parents and students should not be taking educational choices away. The suppression of information and promotion of viewpoints only the powers-that-be want presented is the very definition of indoctrination. The fact that this suppression is directed solely at historically underrepresented and marginalized minorities only serves to prove their point.

If you really care about critical thinking and a broad and non-politicized educational experience, end this attack on African American studies and diverse educational opportunities now.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Stanley Morales


One Comment

  1. To ban books seems to me to defeat the effects of education. Only through history can we make better choices today and in the future. If we are ignorant of history then we are doomed to repeat it. We become more intelligent through education and can apply our thoughts, insights and opinions to construct a better outcome for all. No people, no culture, no person, is without fault. To learn we are all humans making an attempt to improve our societies creates an open forum for all to participate. Alone we can do little, together we accomplish much. But, we must join together which is where the divide begins. If the MEGA’s stop education we will all continue to stay ignorant and act in accordance. Ignorance is not a virtue.

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