Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday defended his decision to block an Advanced Placement (AP) course centered around black history and activism following criticism from the White House.
“The issue is, we have guidelines and standards in Florida. We want education, not indoctrination,” DeSantis said, according to a video from a press conference. He also noted that the state already requires a non-AP course on black history.
DeSantis blasted the AP curriculum over its inclusion of black queer studies. “Who would say that an important part of black history is queer theory? That is somebody pushing an agenda on our kids … When you try to use black history to shoehorn in queer theory, you are clearly trying to use that for political purposes,” he stated in the video.
DeSantis is asked during a news conference about the state’s rejection of an AP African American history class. He says “this course on Black history, what’s one of the lessons about? Queer theory … that’s the wrong side of the line for Florida standards.” pic.twitter.com/HzKnWsyUb3
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 23, 2023
The Florida Department of Education rejected the AP course on Jan. 12. “The course is a vehicle for a political agenda and leaves large, ambiguous gaps that can be filled with additional ideological material, which we will not allow,” DeSantis’ press secretary Bryan Griffin told the Daily Caller News Foundation at the time.
The governor signed legislation in April banning schools from teaching that “a person, by virtue of his or her race, color, national origin, or sex is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.”
White House Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre denounced Florida’s decision, arguing that “they didn’t block AP European History, they didn’t block music history, they didn’t block art history, but the state chooses to block a course that is meant for high achieving high school students to learn about their history of arts and culture, and it is incomprehensible.”