NAPLES, FLORIDA — Governor Ron DeSantis blasted the College Board on Monday for “jamming their agenda down our throats” via the now infamous AP African American Studies course.
The College Board is a nonprofit that provides programs and services – such as Advanced Placement (AP) courses and SAT testing – that help prepare high school students for college.
The governor ripped the organization for injecting queer theory, intersectionality and neo-Marxism into the course syllabus, which prompted the state’s widely publicized rejection.
“This College Board… nobody elected them to anything,” DeSantis told reporters at a press conference. “At the end of the day, we highlighted things that were very problematic. It wasn't just people like me saying that. Across the political spectrum, people were saying that this [course] really is junk. Why don’t we just do and teach the things that matter? Why is it always that someone has to try to jam their agenda down our throats?”
DeSantis added that he had already spoken to House Speaker Paul Renner about the state “reevaluating” its relationship with the College Board. He also suggested other vendors may offer a better product.
WAR OF WORDS CONTINUES
DeSantis comments are the latest exchange in a public back and forth between the state and the College Board. The governor’s remarks come less than 48 hours after the College Board posted a statement that rejected any notion that the state influenced its revisions to the course.
The statement labeled the Florida Department of Education’s (FDOE) description of the course as “slander” and claimed: “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.”
“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 statement added.
The College Board admitted to making “mistakes in the rollout” of the course and confessed a “failure to raise our voice betrayed Black scholars everywhere and those who have long toiled to build this remarkable field.”
Last week, FDOE sent a four-page letter with 20 bullet points dating back to January 2022 that recounted specific communications between the FDOE and the College Board regarding the course. The letter’s final bullet point hinted that the College Board made changes in response to the state’s feedback.
“By no coincidence, we were grateful to see that the College Board’s revised February 1, 2023, framework removed 19 topics, many of which FDOE cited as conflicting with Florida law, including discriminatory and historically fictional topics,” the letter stated.
“WE’RE DOING WHAT’S RIGHT HERE”
In addition to going after the College Board, the governor bemoaned the cowardice of conservative leaders in other states.
“I'm so sick of people not doing what's right because they're worried that people are going to call them names. We're doing what's right here,” DeSantis said. “Our Department of Education looked at that [syllabus] and said, ‘In Florida, we do education not indoctrination.’ … Many people agree with that in other states. We were just the only ones that had the backbone to stand up and do it.”