Florida students can no longer study for Advanced Placement (AP) psychology, after the group administering the test withdrew it, saying the course could not be changed to accommodate new state laws against discussing LGBTQ issues in the classroom.
The College Board, which oversees tests such as the SAT, said authorities in Florida asked them to sign an ‘assurance document’ that AP psychology and other AP courses comply with the laws and rules of the Florida.
In March 2022, Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law the “Don’t Say Gay” law, which prohibits public school teachers from discussing sexual orientation or gender identity in the classroom.
The bill was initially only valid for grade three, but in April this year the Board of Education approved a ban on classroom teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity. at all levels, at the request of DeSantis..
In May, Florida asked the College Board to review all of its courses to make sure they comply with Florida law.
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
Florida’s GOP-dominated legislature passed the controversial ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill on Tuesday, despite a wave of protests from students and LGBTQ activists rejecting the bill
The college council said they would not sign Florida’s “insurance document”because that would be like having to drop the topics of sexual orientation and gender identity in their college-level psychology course.
As a result, he advised school districts not to make it part of their schedule for the upcoming school year.
In January, Florida banned AP African American Studies, arguing that the class indoctrinates students into “a political agenda.”
“As submitted, 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,” said Bryan Griffin, press secretary for DeSantis.
Florida insisted Thursday that it had not banned AP psychology and accused the College Board of “playing games.”
But several school districts have been scrambling to try to find replacement classes and help ambitious high schoolers who intended to take the college-level course.
Last year, 28,000 Florida students took AP Psychology, and the course was offered at 562 different schools.
In 2021, Florida had the highest AP turnout in the nation and was second only to Connecticut for the percentage of high school students who passed at least one AP exam.
In 2022, high school students in Florida took nearly 364,000 AP exams, according to College Board data cited by The Orlando Sentinel.
Several school districts confirmed they had dropped AP psychology after the College Board announcement.
DeSantis blocked AP African American Studies in his state in January
Lake County schools will not be offering AP psychology this year, Sherri Owens, a spokesperson, said in an email to the newspaper.
Orange County Public Schools sent messages late Thursday to parents of students enrolled in AP Psychology, telling them that the course cannot be offered due to “selected content” that is not authorized by Florida rules.
They noted that “the College Board requires educators to teach the entire curriculum of an AP course for college credit.”
Schools in the district are “working to identify alternate options for your child’s schedule,” the post read.
Cassie Palelis, a spokeswoman for the Education Department, said it was not true the course was banned because other “advanced course providers”, such as the International Baccalaureate program, n had “no problem” offering a college-level psychology course in Florida.
“The Department did not ‘ban’ the course,” Palelis said.
“The course remains listed in the Florida Course Code Directory for the 2023-24 school year.
“We encourage the College Board to stop playing games with Florida students and continue to deliver the course and allow teachers to operate accordingly.”
But the College Board said it has advised districts not to offer the course because it would violate state law or, if changed, make the class incomplete.
“We are saddened to learn that today the Florida Department of Education has effectively banned AP psychology in the state by advising Florida superintendents that teaching foundational content about Sexual orientation and gender identity is illegal under state law,” the College Board said in a statement. .
“Therefore, we advise districts in Florida not to offer AP psychology until Florida reverses its decision and allows parents and students to elect to take the full course.”
Randi Weingarten, the head of one of the nation’s largest teachers’ unions, the AFT, condemned Florida’s hardline policy
Weingarten said DeSantis was turning Florida into an ’embarrassment’
Anna Eskamani, a Democrat representing Orlando, called the state’s stance on the LGBTQ discussion a “terrible move” that is “100% politically motivated” and will hurt Florida students.
‘As someone who graduated from Florida public schools with college credit through AP courses, I know how powerful and effective these courses are and my stomach aches to see what Governor Ron DeSantis and the Republican Party are doing in our state,’ she said in a statement.
Randi Weingarten, the head of one of the nation’s largest teachers’ unions, the AFT, condemned Florida’s hardline policy.
AP psychology has been offered in the state since 1993.
“Unfortunately, it’s all part of DeSantis’ playbook of eroding rights, censoring those he disagrees with, and gaining access to knowledge,” she said.
‘This year alone, countless educators have been forced to remove or conceal their classroom libraries under threat of punishment and jail, countless students have lost because the governor shut down African American AP studies , and now this assault on AP psychology.
“It’s an unconscionable but far from surprising move by an extremist and increasingly unpopular leader who is rapidly becoming both a national pariah and a global embarrassment.”