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AP African-American Studies pilot program

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Another day, another Republican state treats Black studies like an afterthought (at best).

According to the Arkansas Times, on Friday, educators learned that the Arkansas Department of Education decided it would not recognize a new Advanced Placement course on African American history for course credit for the 2023-24 school year. And the board announced this decision two days before said school year was set to start.

MORE: The Importance Of African American Studies

To be clear, the state isn’t exactly banning the course from the classroom—so it’s not going full Florida per se. But Arkansas has effectively removed any insentive for students to take the course by deciding it “would not cover the $90 cost of an end-of-year test that gives students the opportunity to qualify for college course credit,” the Times reported.

From the Times:

The full impact of the state’s move is still unclear. Teachers were reportedly told they could still offer the class, but the state will not recognize it on the same level as other AP courses. That may make African American Studies less attractive for students competing for top class rankings, who often seek out AP classes for the extra bump they provide to their GPAs (taking AP classes can shoot high-performing students above a 4.0). It could also have a chilling effect on other schools that might have been considering offering the course in the future.

The course will not count as a credit toward statewide graduation requirements, and students will have to pay their own test fees.

So, basically, it’s Jim Crow, but for AP classes.

It’s unclear why the board made this decision. Sure, Arkansas is yet another Republican state where oficials are using their legislative powers to ban critical race theory into white oblivion without demonstrating any real knowlege about what CRT is. In fact, Arkansas LEARNS act, a bill champoioned by Gov. Sarah Sanders that is aimed at school vouchers and privatization, bans lessons that could “indoctrinate students with ideologies, such as Critical Race Theory, otherwise known as ‘CRT,’ that conflict with the principle of equal protection under the law.”

But the fact that the AA studies course hasn’t been outright banned indicates that, despite the state sighning anti-woke propaganda into law, there wan’t any grounds to forbid educators from teaching it. So, instead, the state’s board of education appears to have banned it without banning it through shady and sudden policy changes, and it has apparently done so without even having a hearing on the matter.

More from the Times:

Sanders and other LEARNS supporters vilified public school teachers during the 2023 legislative session, accusing them of indoctrinating students, but failing to offer examples. The LEARNS Act easily passed through Arkansas’s supermajority Republican legislature despite bipartisan concerns over the speed at which it was pushed through and the potentially devastating effects it will have on rural districts and communities.

A review of recent agendas and meeting minutes suggests any concerns or proposed policy changes regarding AP African American Studies have not been brought before the state Board of Education. The board’s last meeting was Thursday, the day before the department culled AP African American Studies from its course management system.

So, a red state’s education officials have failed to prove any kind of indoctrination is happening in its classrooms but still made arbitrary policy changes that discredit the AA course for no discernable reason.

Florida, are you sure this isn’t you?

Interestingly enough, Arkansas’ new secretary of education, Jacob Oliva, was previously an education administrator in Florida and he was one of Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ minions of white nationalism who joined him in attacking any courses that involved multiculturalism, LGBTQA-related studies and generally anything white conservatives consider “woke.” (*gestures widely toward anything that isn’t blatant right-wing indoctrination*) Similarly, Sanders instructed Oliva “to scour Arkansas curricula for signs of indoctrination and critical race theory,” according to the Times.

How does saying go? If at first you don’t succeed at white supremacy, cheat and cheat again.

Pretty sure that’s right.


Where The New Advanced Placement African American Studies Course Falls Short

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