TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The ongoing feud between the College Board and Florida Department of Education has reached a new level of combativeness. On Saturday, the College Board accused FDOE and Gov. Ron DeSantis of slander, regarding the state’s commentary on the Advanced Placement African American Studies course.
On Thursday, the educational nonprofit pushed back on state claims that the program had made multiple removals or changes based on requests by the state’s Education Department.
Now, the College Board is saying the debate about the course has “moved from healthy debate to misinformation” and said that they regretted “not immediately denouncing the Florida Department of Education’s slander, magnified by the DeSantis administration’s subsequent comments,” particularly the notion that the course lacked education value.
Request for comment on the College Board’s letter from the FDOE has yet to be received by WFLA.com.
Repeating claims made by the College Board on Thursday, the organization doubled down saying that discourse between the board and FDOE had essentially not been the excperience of the board.
“While it has been claimed that the College Board was in frequent dialogue with Florida about the content of AP African American Studies, this is a false and politically motivated charge. Our exchanges with them are actually transactional emails about the filing of paperwork to request a pilot course code and our response to their request that the College Board explain why we believe the course is not in violation of Florida laws,” the College Board said in a statement. “We had no negotiations about the content of this course with Florida or any other state, nor did we receive any requests, suggestions, or feedback.”
College Board said that the letter rejecting the course sent by FDOE “contained no explanation of the rejection,” with Florida instead telling them to “call them if we had any questions.” The educational organization noted that they had not received specifics from FDOE pertaining to any of the policies that the course framework allegedly ran afoul of.
“Since FDOE did not make any requests or suggestions during the calls, we asked them if they could share specific concerns in writing. They said they had to check with their supervisors and get permission,” the College Board’s new letter continued. “They never sent us any feedback, but instead sent a second letter to us on January 12, 2023, as a PR stunt which repeated the same rejection but now with inflated rhetoric and posturing, saying the course lacked ‘educational value.'”
The nonprofit said when they did make those calls, “phone calls with FDOE were absent of substance, despite the audacious claims of influence FDOE is now making.”
Going further, the College Board said they had made a mistake by “treading FDOE with the courtesy we always accord to an education agency,” saying instead that the state’s education department had “instead exploited this courtesy for their political agenda.”
Instead, the College Board said Florida’s officials had simply tried to “engineer a political win” by claiming credit for changes in the framework and then accused them of having their Feb. 7 letter to the non profit “leaked to the media within hours of sending, Florida expresses gratitude for the removal of 19 topics, none of which they ever asked us to remove, and most of which remain in the official framework.”
WFLA.com has made repeated attempts to get comment or details from the Florida Department of Education, requesting response to both the Thursday letter, as well as the follow-up claim of slander which was published Saturday evening.