Civil Rights Lawyer Ben Crump Might Take Ron DeSantis To AP 'Sue Your Ass' Class Over Black History Course
Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis is getting significant pushback for his administration's rejection last week of an Advanced Placement course in African American studies. Yesterday, African American state lawmakers, educators, and others rallied in the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee to call for the AP course to be offered in Florida high schools. Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump said at the rally that if DeSantis refuses to make the class available, Crump will sue the state on the behalf of three high school honors students from Leon County who want to take the course.
“If the governor allows the College Board to present AP African American studies in classrooms across the state of Florida, then we will feel no need to file this historic lawsuit,” Crump told reporters at the Capitol. “However, if he rejects the free flow of ideas and suppresses African American studies, then we’re prepared to take this controversy all the way to the United States Supreme Court.”
It's just the latest effort to fight back against DeSantis's ongoing agenda of using culture war issues to build rightwing support nationwide as he plans a likely 2024 presidential run. DeSantis has claimed that the AP course, currently being taught as a pilot before being rolled out nationwide, is tainted by unnecessary political elements like queer theory, because no Black people have ever been LGBTQ as long as you exclude Audre Lorde, James Baldwin, Bayard Rustin, and others who were not Martin Luther King, the only Black leader DeSantis pretends to admire.
DeSantis and his Education Department also cried bitterly about how the AP course was full of "critical race theory" because it might suggest that slavery, Jim Crow, and systematic racism were part of a deliberate attempt by white people to deny rights and economic freedom to people of color, which could make white children feel sad. Instead, under Florida law, we're pretty sure Black history is limited to half of one sentence from King's "Dream" speech, as well as a brief list of Black entertainers, athletes, Supreme Court justices who were not Thurgood Marshall, and the opening credits of "The Cosby Show."
Ron DeSantis's Drunk Black History
Florida Will Shrink Black History Until It's Small Enough To Drown In Ron DeSantis's Bathtub
Ron DeSantis Cancels 'Un-American' African American Studies AP Classes, F*ck You Is Why
The College Board, which creates Advanced Placement classes and tests that can be applied to college credits, as well as the SATs and other standardized tests, issued a press release Tuesday saying it will release its "official" framework for the African American studies course on February 1, the first day of Black History Month. That framework, the College Board said, would incorporate feedback gathered throughout the 2022-2023 pilot period of the class, which has been in development for a decade.
The press release didn't specify that Florida's objections were the reason for the updates to the framework; if anything, it sounds like the sort of routine boilerplate you'd get in any announcement of a coming plan:
This framework, under development since March 2022, replaces the preliminary pilot course framework under discussion to date [...]
Before a new AP course is made broadly available, it is piloted in a small number of high schools to gather feedback from high schools and colleges. The official course framework incorporates this feedback and defines what students will encounter on the AP Exam for college credit and placement.
Not a word about any changes to meet DeSantis's demands to strip out all the woke indoctrination stuff. Considering how much time and work and committee planning goes into developing a class that's going to be available nationwide, it's pretty freaking unlikely the College Board would even attempt a radical pruning of the course in roughly a week. It's really not like one teacher rewriting a lesson plan at the last minute, or any document the Trump administration ever slapped together.
But hey, it said it would replace the pilot version that DeSantis rejected, so members of his administration got busy proclaiming victory. DeSantis press secretary Bryan Griffin exulted on Twitter that "Thanks to @GovRonDeSantis' principled stand for education over identity politics, the College Board will be revising the course for the entire nation," which again, is almost certainly not what happened, we will bet cash money on that.
The Florida Department of Education also issued a statement thanking the College Board for wholesale revisions that were definitely not mentioned by the College Board statement either:
We are glad the College Board has recognized that the originally submitted course curriculum is problematic, and we are encouraged to see the College Board express a willingness to amend. AP courses are standardized nationwide, and as a result of Florida’s strong stance against identity politics and indoctrination, students across the country will consequentially have access to an historically accurate, unbiased course.
As Governor DeSantis said, African American History is American History, and we will not allow any organization to use an academic course as a gateway for indoctrination and a political agenda. We look forward to reviewing the College Board’s changes and expect the removal of content on Critical Race Theory, Black Queer Studies, Intersectionality and other topics that violate our laws.
We are of course ready to say we were wrong if the final version of the AP framework released next week perfectly fits Florida's demands, although we think it's far more likely that DeSantis and crew will 1) reject it yet again as too dangerous for Florida teens or B) find two or three tiny changes, greatly overstate their significance, and claim victory.
In any case, California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker have issued their own statements urging the College Board not to make the cuts demanded by DeSantis, which is, as we say, a far more likely outcome anyway. (AND MAKE IT GAYER, says Pritzker.) No doubt DeSantis will blame any non-revisions to the course framework on those two dangerous libs.
[Politico / WFLA / The Hill / Tallahassee Democrat / NBC News / Image: Screenshot, WPBF-TV on Youtube.]
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