TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The College Board, which develops and administers both Advanced Placement courses and the Scholastic Aptitude Test, took a more aggressive stance to defend its new African American studies course after Florida moved to ban it.
The nonprofit fired shots at the Department of Education and Gov. Ron DeSantis, accusing them of politicizing the course’s development and revision process.
“Florida is attempting to claim a political victory by taking credit retroactively for changes we ourselves made but that they never suggested to us,” the College Board said in a statement. “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.”
Although Florida officials have not yet responded to repeated requests for comment about the College Board’s statements, DeSantis told reporters that the state is reevaluating its relationship with the nonprofit.
DeSantis made the comments at event in Naples that was focused on removing “woke” politics from financial business in Florida.
“All of these different aspects of society, where a lot of powerful elites are trying to jam down politics, you see it in big tech, obviously you see it in universities, you see it across the gamut, and you see it in bureaucracies, I think,” DeSantis said.
He said his administration is intent on keeping the Sunshine State the “Free State of Florida.”
“The College Board was the one that in a Black studies course, put queer theory in,” DeSantis said. “Not us. They were the ones that put in intersectionality, other types of Neo-Marxism, into the proposed syllabus. And this was the proposed course. So our Dept. of Education looked at that and said ‘in Florida, we do education, not indoctrination, and so that runs afoul of our standards.”
DeSantis said people across the U.S. have had similar concerns, but their officials haven’t taken action. He said Florida has “the backbone” to stand up to the risk of being “demagogued,” and that he was tired of people “not doing what’s right.”
“We’re doing what’s right here. So this College Board, nobody elected them to anything. They’re just kind of there, they’re providing service. So you can either use those services or not. They’ve provided these AP courses for a long time, but you know, there are probably some other vendors that can do that job as good, or maybe even better.”
The governor said he’d been in discussions with Florida legislative leaders about the state’s relationship with the College Board.
“I’ve already talked with Paul [Renner] and I think the Legislature is going to look to reevaluate how Florida’s doing that. Of course our universities can or can’t accept College Board courses for credit, maybe they’ll do others,” DeSantis said. “And also, whether our universities do the SAT or the ACT, I think they do both, but we’re going to evaluate both as far as that process goes, but at the end of the day we highlighted things that were very problematic.”
The governor said issues with what was in the AP studies course curriculum were important to more than just his administration.
“It wasn’t just people like me saying that, across the political spectrum. You know, people saying this really is junk. Why don’t we just do and teach the things that matter?” DeSantis said. “Why is it that someone always has to try to jam their agenda down our throats?”
WFLA.com has reached out to the governor’s office for more information.