Ron DeSantis Just Might Cut Off The College Board To Spite Florida Students' Faces

Right Wing Extremism
Ron DeSantis Just Might Cut Off The College Board To Spite Florida Students' Faces

Last weekend, the College Board accused the Florida Department of Education and Gov. Ron DeSantis of playing gross politics over its Advanced Placement course in African American Studies. Go read the letter. The College Board is real mad. Now, DeSantis is ready for payback. I suppose if you’ve gone to war against Disney, the College Board doesn’t seem that formidable.

Monday, during a news conference in Naples, DeSantis wondered why Florida even needs a "College Board," after this one called him names. (They didn't actually, but DeSantis is a running fountain of white male victimhood.)

“This College Board, like, nobody elected them to anything,” he said. “They are just kind of there, and they provide a service, and so you can either utilize those services or not.”


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So, what does the College Board do? It would seem a lot, actually:

The College Board offers eight AP courses in languages and culture; seven science-based courses, such as physics and biology; six math and computer science courses, including calculus; nine history and social science courses; two English courses and three arts courses. It also has a special diploma program called Capstone, which some Republican lawmakers are trying to include for credit toward Bright Futures eligibility.

In 2021, nearly 200,000 Florida teens sat for more than 366,000 tests, for which they can earn college credit. It had the fifth-highest rate of tests taken per 1,000 students in the nation.

The College Board also administers the SAT, which is useful for students who'd like to attend college or waste a perfectly good Saturday.

But phooey on them, says DeSantis! “There are probably other vendors who may be able to do that job as good or maybe even a lot better,” he claimed. Sure, anything’s possible when you’re a racist demagogue who doesn’t care about actual education. You can find a new College Board on Thumbtack.

Florida currently pays AP teachers a $50 bonus for every student who receives a score of three or higher on the College Board Advanced Placement Examination. That's a good night out, unless you live in Miami, where that's more like a good start.

Eli Rhoads, a senior at Pasco County’s Mitchell High School, told the Tampa Bay Times that he received a full ride to the University of Alabama thanks in part to his AP courses. “I don’t see how I could have gotten ahead without them," he said. “You almost have to have these courses to stand out.”

Another senior at Mitchell High, Stella Tucker, is on track to complete 18 AP courses by the time she graduates this spring — potentially delivering about $900 in bonuses for her teachers. She predicted a significant backlash if DeSantis and his Republican puppet Legislature scales back or eliminates AP courses.

“I think that would really put the students of Florida at a disadvantage," she said, advising officials to “look more closely at what AP classes are doing for the students of the state of Florida and get their perspective. They’re the ones who would really be affected by all this.”

While the high school senior's smart enough to question DeSantis's rash decision-making, the Tampa Bay Times described the fight he's picking with the College Board as "indicative of the Republican governor’s 'take-no-prisoners' brand of politics." The New York Timesrecently called DeSantis “strategic, policy focused, and disciplined.” His PR people have seemingly infiltrated most media outlets.

If DeSantis severs ties with the College Board, students would have some other options, including International Baccalaureate, Cambridge Programme and dual enrollment classes. They also can take the ACT exam instead of the SAT.

"Of course, our universities can or can’t accept College Board courses for credit, maybe they’ll do others. And then also just whether our universities do the SAT versus the ACT. I think they do both, but we are going to evaluate how the process goes,” DeSantis said with his usual strategic, policy-focused discipline.

[Tampa Bay]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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