The Advanced Placement class of African American Studies debuts in 60 high schools

The Advanced Placement class of African American Studies debuts in 60 high schools

The Advanced Placement class of African American Studies debuts in 60 high schools

The College Board announced that it will begin offering an Advanced Placement (AP) African American Studies course at 60 unnamed high schools in the United States this fall, CBS News learned.

The AP program, which offers high school students the opportunity to take courses at undergraduate level before graduation, currently covers 38 subjects, including English literature and composition, United States government and politics, statistics and art history.

The AP African American Studies course is the College Board’s first new offering since 2014, according to TIME, and will cover over 400 years of African American history. The curriculum will cover several topics, including literature, political science and geography.

This summer, the teachers involved in the launch of the pilot program met at Howard University, a historically black institution, to review the course framework and prepare for the launch.

Marlon Williams-Clark, a social studies teacher at Florida State University schools, held one of the first classes in a state that banned the teaching of critical race theory in public K-12 institutions.

“It can be said that there is thirst [students] they have to acquire this knowledge, “she said in an interview with Elaine Quijano and Lana Zak of CBS News.” I think this course will be the precursor to other stories about … marginalized people. “

On why AP European history courses have been offered for years without an African American history counterpart, Williams-Clark said, “What we need to understand is that the story is told from the winner’s point of view.”

“I am very proud of the College Board for taking this step and for the work they have done to create this course. It is truly historic, but it is also something that is really needed,” he added.

Henry-Louis Gates, Jr., one of the country’s foremost experts on African American history, helped develop the AP African American Studies program. He told TIME that the class “isn’t CRT. It’s not the [New York Times’] Project 1619. It is a traditional, strictly controlled academic approach to a vibrant field of study, half a century old in American academia and much older, of course, in historically black colleges and universities. “

In a statement to CBS News, the College Board said it has been working on this course for nearly a decade and that it is “designed to give high school students a stimulating, evidence-based introduction to African American studies.”

The course will be offered in 200 schools next year, before being offered to all interested US high schools starting in school year 2024-25. The College Board says the phased implementation will give colleges and universities time to establish accreditation policies that allow students to apply these course credits to their higher education requirements.

The new course comes at a controversial time for race-based education in America. A report by PEN Education found that 137 bills on the “order of the educational gag” – which the organization defines as “state legislative efforts to restrict teaching on topics such as race, gender, American history and LGBTQ + identity in the primary and secondary and higher education “- were introduced in 36 states this year. That’s more than double the number of bills introduced last year, when 22 states introduced 54 bills. Six of the seven bills passed this year specifically included race as an influenced educational topic.

Last year, dozens of Republican senators, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, wrote a letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona criticizing the Biden administration’s proposed priorities for teaching several American history courses. in schools, one of which was titled “Projects Incorporating Racism, Ethnically, Culturally and Linguistically Different Perspectives in Teaching and Learning”.

According to the senators, the proposed priorities “double on divided, radical and historically dubious slogans and propaganda”.

“Americans have never decided that our children should be taught that our country is inherently evil,” the letter reads.

Although the general public cannot yet view the curriculum itself, the College Board plans to post the course framework in its entirety on the AP program website in the spring of 2024.

In a statement, Trevor Packer, senior vice president of AP and Instruction at the College Board, said the class “will introduce a new generation of students to the extraordinarily rich cultural, artistic and political contributions of African Americans.”

“We hope it will broaden the invitation to Advanced Placement and inspire students with a fuller appreciation of American history,” he added.

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