Oppressors take the Classroom: Why Politicians don’t belong in the debate over AP African American Studies (Editorial)


Kirsten Bisconer

The AP African American Studies ban in Florida won’t allow students to take the College Board created course.

It is the year 2023, but it seems this country is pedaling back in time. Florida governor Ron DeSantis has stripped the opportunity to take AP African American Studies from hundreds of prospective students. A governor does not and should not have the power to censor the education of students who are willingly taking this course. 

Schools all over the country, including Carlisle, have been given the opportunity to offer AP African American Studies as a course option for high school students. This option has been a breath of fresh air, providing a focus on a group that is typically underrepresented in a traditional curriculum. This new opportunity allows students to take a college-level course if they have a genuine passion for the subject and want to learn about African American history.

History is a subject that has been historically taught from the biased standpoints of the oppressors rather than recognizing the oppressed. This new class will show students an extremely important side of American history that has been traditionally overlooked. It also prepares students for college by awarding them credits and introducing them to topics they will encounter in their higher education classes. 

 This new course has many different events, people, and ideas embedded in its curriculum. Units of this course will be covering things like culture, slavery, early African societies, reconstruction and other parts of African American history that are crucial to understanding American history. It is a course that represents all parts of history: the good, bad, emotional, and everything in between.

 The framework for this course created by College Board states “AP opposes indoctrination. AP students are expected to analyze different perspectives from their own, and no points on an AP Exam are awarded for agreement with any specific viewpoint.” This suggests that this course expands students viewpoints and lets them explore other perspectives to form their own opinions. Schools nationwide should be offering this course for the people passionate about it.

However, the state of Florida is determined to ban this class for ridiculous reasons. DeSantis claims that this course is “indoctrination” and “lacks educational value.” He planned to remove topics he believes teach opinions, including but not limited to Black Lives Matter, anything to do with the queer experience, Black feminism, and anything he calls “critical race theory.” 

People are angry, and rightfully so. One governor that is not trained in education does not deserve the power to change the curriculum just because he believes it is opinionated.

 This is not the first time Ron DeSantis has done something like this, signing the Don’t Say Gay bill last year, which prohibits teachers from using government funds to teach about sexual orientation and gender identity.  It is blatantly obvious that he only wants to showcase some parts of history, one that only recognizes people who look, think, identify, and love like him.

As a student living in 2023, it is hard to understand why DeSantis is doing this. A student choosing to take this course is obviously interested in the full scope of history, even if parts of it are harsh. This new ban is interfering with the ability of students to see things from different points of view. As a governor, one of his main priorities should be to prevent history from repeating itself. The fact that he wants to rid the course of anything that lets students form their own opinions is childish and should be illegal.

For centuries, history has been written by the powerful and privileged, while discounting all of the perspectives that truly contributed to the development of our society.  African American history is American history, and any education would be incomplete without it. The movement to suppress this surge is not accidental, it is a blatant attack against those who have already been robbed of justice and credit; a replication of a story America knows all too well. And as the saying goes, those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat it.

Disclaimer: Articles designated as “Editorial” represent the views and opinions of the author, not the 2022-2023 Periscope staff, CHS/CASD administration, or the CHS student body.