The College Board Strips Down Its A.P. Curriculum for African American Studies

The AP course dispute isn’t just about the content of a high school class. Education has been at the center of many fierce partisan debates, and the University Board’s decision to try to build a curriculum that includes one of the most important subjects in the country – racial history in America – can be controversial. If anything, the curriculum debates underscore the fact that the United States as a country cannot agree on its own story, especially given the complex and responsible history of the American people. black skin.

Politically, the College Board does not appear to be involved in politics. In the revised 234-page curriculum framework, the content on Africa, slavery, reconstruction and the civil rights movement remains largely the same. But research on contemporary topics – including Black Lives Matter, affirmative action, the weird life and the compensation debate – has been downgraded. Subjects are no longer part of the test and are simply given in the list of options for a required research project.

And even that list, to align with local laws, “may be refined by local states and counties.”

Writers and scholars who have been expelled include Kimberlé W. Crenshaw, a law professor at Columbia, who hailed her work as “foundational in important racial theory”; Roderick Ferguson, a Yale professor who has written about the homosexual social movement; and Ta-Nehisi Coates, who made the case for restitution for slavery. The bell hanger is no more, Writer who shaped discussions about race, feminism, and class.

AP exams are ingrained in the American education system. Students take courses and exams to demonstrate their academic prowess when applying to college. Most four-year colleges and universities offer college credit to students who score high enough on the AP exam. And more than a million public high school students graduating in 2021 have taken at least one AP exam.

But exam troubles raise questions about whether the African American Studies course, as modified, will accomplish the task of mimicking a college-level course, which typically requires students to analyze secondary sources of information and take up controversial topics.

Chester E. Finn, Jr., a senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institute, said the College Board came up with a smart strategy by not removing “sensitive parts” but instead making them optional. select.

“DeSantis likes to make noise and he’s running for president,” Finn said. “But they got feedback from all over the 60 schools they’ve piloted this with. I think that’s a way of dealing with the US at this point, not just with DeSantis. Some of these things they might want to teach in New York, but not Dallas. Or San Francisco but not St. Petersburg.”


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