100 signatures reached
To: Governor DeSantis
Sign This Petition and Tell Governor DeSantis Our Youth Deserve AP African American Studies
We, the undersigned, are appalled by the decision of your office and the Department of Education under Manny Diaz Jr., to deny access to Florida high school students to an optional Advanced Placement (AP) course in African American Studies.
We strongly urge you to reverse this decision after considering the following:
*African American history and culture are an essential part of the American story, as are US History, European History, World History and numerous Language and Culture courses currently offered as AP courses in Florida high schools. It is critical that students have access to a comprehensive and accurate education on African American Studies.
As opposed to “lacking educational value”, AP African American Studies was developed, written and vetted by at least 34 experts in the field of education, over a period of 10 years. It is an evidence-based introduction to African American studies (https://www.theflstandard.com/content/files/2023/01/AP-African-American-Studies-Coursework.pdf).
According to Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., professor and director of the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University, “AP African American Studies is not CRT. It's not the 1619 Project. It is a mainstream, rigorously vetted, academic approach to a vibrant field of study, one half a century old in the American academy, and much older, of course, in historically Black colleges and universities” (https://time.com/6207652/ap-african-american-history-class/).
Instead of AP African *American Studies “robbing [Florida's] children of their innocence”, the National Education Association (NEA) states that ethnic studies “…help foster cross-cultural understanding among both students of color and white students and aids students in valuing their own cultural identity while appreciating the differences around them” (https://www.nea.org/sites/default/files/2020-10/What%20the%20Research%20Says%20About%20Ethnic%20Studies.pdf). A 2021 study by Stanford University found that 9th grade students who took an ethnic studies course increased their overall engagement in school, improved attendance, and increased the probability of graduating and the likelihood of enrolling in college (https://news.stanford.edu/2021/09/06/research-finds-sustained-impact-ethnic-studies-class/).
*The topics your office states as reasons for denying this course are but a fraction of the enormous scope of issues discussed in this course. Intersectionality, or the compounding effects of discrimination on a person with 2 or more protected-class statuses, is fact, not indoctrination. That Black LGBTQ people exist and suffer discrimination is fact, not indoctrination. That some Black activists have espoused not-capitalist views is fact, not indoctrination. We believe that nothing in this excellent curriculum runs “contrary to law.”
Governor, we call on you to take immediate action to ensure that all high school students in Florida have access to an optional African American Studies course. You say “Florida must always be a great place to raise a family – we will enact more family-friendly policies to make it easier to raise children and we will defend our children against those who seek to rob them of their innocence.” Please do not let this continue to mean “White families” and “White children”. Knowledge of African American culture and history gives ALL students the ability to navigate in this complex, multi-cultural world in which we live. Do not hamper their success!
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