Virginia Dept. of Ed approves AP African American studies

A stripped-down version of AP African American Studies can stay in Virginia high schools, the state’s department of education says.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin ordered a review of the class earlier this year after he banned the teaching of “divisive concepts” when he took office.

Howard University Professor Greg Carr, who helped design the curriculum, is glad it can still be taught in Virginia.

“It’s very encouraging, because I think that’s a step toward creating the type of educational environment that we want for our children in this country,” he said.

The news follows months of drama nationwide surrounding AP African American Studies.

In April 2022, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the Stop WOKE Act, limiting how racism can be taught in schools.

In January 2023, the Florida Department of Education banned AP African American Studies, saying it violates state law and “lacks educational value.”

Shortly after, the College Board stripped down the curriculum, removing lessons on critical race theory, the queer experience, Black feminism and Black Lives Matter.

That’s when Youngkin asked for the review of the class.

“This course requires us to still ourselves and face some painful truths – certainly enslavement, colonialism, displacement of indigenous people, it’s all there – but also talk about the comingling of cultures, the intersections,” Carr said.

The class is also about resilience and making society better for all, Carr said.

“Anybody who feels threatened by that, I think, is probably trying to preserve a racial hierarchy that has whiteness at the top,” he said.

“After a thorough analysis, the Secretary of Education determined that the AP African American Studies course meets executive order one standards and the pilot will be offered in some Virginia schools this fall,” a statement from the governor’s office said.

The course is currently offered in some Fairfax and Arlington county schools.

Starting next year, all high schools can choose if they want to offer the class except in Florida, where it’s still banned, the College Board said. 

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