The Florida Department of Education says it banned AP African American History because it teaches students about activism, intersectionality and encourages “ending the war on Black trans, queer, gender non-conforming, and intersex people,” according to a document the department sent to The Daily Beast.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis rejected a request from the College Board to provide the class in high school classes in the state Wednesday. The move comes in the same week the far-right Republican—who a judge just ruled violated free speech laws by firing a prosecutor for being “woke”—requested info on trans students from universities state-wide.
DeSantis’ administration further made their anti-LGBTQ stance known in their explanation for prohibiting the class, simply listing “Black Queer Studies” as a violation of state law.
A representative for DeSantis said the now-banned class “lacks educational value and historical accuracy” in a statement to The Daily Beast.
The document further admonishes the teaching of intersectionality, claiming it is “foundational to” Critical Race Theory, without explaining how.
The department also takes issue with topics advocating for reparations—a movement with the goal of helping recipients overcome generations of human rights violations.
“There is no critical perspective or balancing opinion in this lesson,” the document says of one topic devoted to the Reparations Movement.
The inclusion of acclaimed author bell hooks in the topic Black Feminist Literary Thought is also cited as a problem, apparently because hooks used the phrase “white supremacist capitalist patriarchy.”
DeSantis hasn’t been shy about his anti-“woke” stance, passing the STOP W.O.K.E. act in 2021, which banned the teaching of Critical Race Theory, even though the governor failed to prove it’s taught in public schools in the state.
The Department of Education says it is “willing to reopen the discussion” if the College Board can provide a class that abides by state law and is historically accurate, although the department’s statement doesn’t provide specific details of what the class teaches that is historically inaccurate.
“As presented, the content of this course is inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value,” the department said in a letter to the College Board.
The department apparently doesn’t want people to think DeSantis is against Black history, however. After all, according to department representatives, he specifically promotes teaching (some of) it.
“One example from his first term is HB 1213, passed and signed into law in 2020. This is a bill that requires all Florida students to learn about the Ocoee Massacre,” Cassie Palelis, press secretary for the Florida Department of Education, said in a statement.