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Arkansas Joins Florida in Banning AP African American Studies

Arkansas Joins Florida in Banning AP African American Studies
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The Arkansas Department of Education claimed that the class is "not a history course" and contains "prohibited topics."

Arkansas has become the second state to nix an Advanced Placement African American Studies course, following in Florida's footsteps amidst a conservative culture war against education.

The state announced that the class would not count for credit toward high school graduation in the first days of the 2023-2024 school year, shocking parents and educators alike. The College Board – the organization that administers AP Programs – said in a statement that it "shares in their surprise, confusion, and disappointment at this new guidance."

Arkansas Restricts AP African American Studies Course

"College Board is committed to providing an unflinching encounter with the facts of African American history and culture, and rejects the notion that the AP African American Studies course is indoctrination in any form," it stated. "This pilot of a college-level course is rooted in the work of 300 scholars and includes facts of African-American experiences in the United States through primary sources that incorporate a combination of history, English, music, and more."

The Arkansas Department of Education claimed in a statement that the course is "not a history course" and contains "prohibited topics." Republican Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders mandated that state curriculum undergo review at the beginning of the year after banning critical race theory in public schools and universities.

Critical race theory is an academic framework that examines U.S. history through the lens of racism and experiences of Black Americans. Conservatives have latched onto the college-level term recently, accusing it of indoctrinating young children.

The College Board said that hundreds of universities in the state have agreed to honor the credits, and that "many more colleges" are expected to follow suit.

"More than 200 colleges and universities nationally have already signed on to provide college credit, including the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, the flagship institution of the University of Arkansas System," the statement continued. "Early credit support for the pilot course has surpassed expectations, and it is our strong expectation that many more colleges will provide credit when an official review is completed in the spring."

NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson decried the state's decision in a separate statement condemning the "extremist state government" that "has waged war on Black America while attempting to rewrite history."

"It is abhorrent that any so-called ‘leader’ would attempt to strip High School students of an opportunity to get a jumpstart on their college degree. Let’s be clear – the continued, state-level attacks on Black history are undemocratic and regressive,” he said. “The sad reality is that these politicians are determined to neglect our nation’s youth in service of their own political agendas."

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