After confusion over whether Advanced Placement (AP) psychology classes would be banned from Florida high schools under Governor Ron DeSantis’ ban on teaching LGBT topics, it appears students there will be allowed to take the lesson.
Earlier this week, the nonprofit College Board advised school districts across the state not to offer the college-level course to Florida high school students unless it can be taught in its entirety.
For decades, the class included a unit on gender and sexual orientation, which the College Board says would be ‘illegal’ after DeSantis recently enacted an expanded ban on teaching those subjects through 12th grade. .
But late Friday, statements from both sides suggested high school students in Florida could finally take the full course.
In a letter to state superintendents, Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. said the state believes the psychology course can be taught “in its entirety.”
Governor Ron DeSantis’ ban on teaching LGBT subjects won’t stop high schools from offering AP psychology, it now seems
Florida students protest law critics dub ‘Don’t Say Gay’ that bans classroom discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity
“Today’s statement from the Florida Department of Education represents revised guidance on AP psychology,” the College Board told DailyMail.com in a statement.
“As district superintendents continue to seek additional clarification from the department, we note the clear direction that ‘AP Psychology may be taught in its entirety,'” the group added.
“We now hope Florida teachers can teach the full course, including gender and sexual orientation content, without fear of punishment in the upcoming school year,” the statement read.
Florida’s ban on teaching classes about gender and sexual orientations, which critics call the “Don’t Say Gay” law, was originally passed in March 2022 and enforced from kindergarten through third grade.
The policy has sparked national debate and helped propel DeSantis into the spotlight ahead of his current campaign seeking the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
In May, DeSantis signed an expanded version of the bill, banning such topics through twelfth grade, with exceptions for high school if approved by authorities as “age-appropriate.”
The Florida Department of Education did not immediately respond Saturday when asked if the AP psychology course material was deemed age-appropriate.
With students preparing to return to school in less than a week in many school districts, it was unclear whether course changes would be expected to comply with Florida rules.
Parents and students found themselves trying to figure out what to do.
Brandon Taylor Charpied said his daughter, who goes to school in a suburb of Jacksonville, was due to take an AP psychology course, but made a last-minute change a few weeks ago after ‘grumblings’ about the breakup between Florida and the College Board.
“To be fair, we saw the writing on the wall,” Charpied said. “It’s a very difficult situation for high schools to navigate right now with only a few days until the start of the school year.”
In a letter to state superintendents, Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr (above) said the state believes the psychology course can be taught “in its entirety”.
Ron DeSantis is pictured in March 2022, signing into law the Parental Rights in Education Bill, known as ‘Don’t Say Gay’, which bans classroom teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten-third grade. It has been extended this year for all students
In Florida’s capital Tallahassee, the superintendent of the Leon County School District met with high school teachers and principals to decide what to do with the nearly 300 students who had already enrolled in the course this year – and who are banking on AP courses to earn college credit.
In Orlando, Orange County Public Schools sent a message to parents whose children were enrolled in AP Psychology saying they were working to find other options.
Because the College Board is sticking to its decades-old psychology curriculum, school districts in the rest of the country are unaffected — unlike it did when it made changes to the college curriculum. AP African American Studies.
In April, the College Board watered down the curriculum for this course on slavery reparations and the Black Lives Matter movement in response to a separate Florida law — and a nationwide backlash ensued.
In its initial statement Thursday, the College Board said the DeSantis administration “effectively banned AP Psychology in the state by notifying Florida superintendents that teaching foundational content about sexual orientation and gender identity is illegal under state law.”
The Florida Department of Education rejected the claim that it banned the course. Diaz’s Friday statement said the AP course can be taught “in an age and developmentally appropriate manner.”
Under an expanded Florida law, classes on sexual orientation and gender identity aren’t allowed unless required by state standards or as part of an education. on reproductive health that students may choose not to take.
In the spring, the state asked the College Board and other college course providers to review their offerings for possible violations.
The College Board refused to modify the psychology course to comply with new Florida legislation.
The course asks students to describe how sex and gender influence a person’s development – topics that have been part of the program since its launch 30 years ago.
Earlier this week it emerged that AP psychology classes would be pulled from Florida schools.
In standing firm against pressure from Florida officials, the College Board, which administers the SAT and AP exams, has acknowledged missteps in the way it has handled the African American studies curriculum.
“We learned from our mistakes during the recent deployment of AP African American Studies and know that we need to be clear about our position from the start,” the nonprofit said in June.
Literacy and free speech experts have hailed the College Board’s new approach.
“These concessions are not a strategy that works,” said Kasey Meehan, director of the Freedom to Read program at PEN America, a nonprofit dedicated to advancing literature and human rights.
“It’s not like there was a common ground and then we worked it out and moved on.”
Meehan said while other states may not have gone as far as Florida to request course reviews, legislation across the country is having a chilling effect on teachers at all levels.
Even if the concepts aren’t explicitly prohibited, many educators don’t know what they might be wrong about teaching in the classroom, she said.
“We’ve heard it’s hard to teach everything from the Civil War to Harvey Milk being the first openly gay elected official in California,” Meehan said. “There’s just a heightened culture of fear and intimidation playing out.”
The American Psychological Association said Florida’s new policy means students will receive an incomplete education.
“Requiring what is actually censored does a huge disservice to Florida students, who will receive an incomplete picture of psychological research in human development,” said Arthur Evans Jr, CEO of the association.