Dem 51
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GOP 49
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DeSantis 1, College Board 0

Ron DeSantis isn't president (yet) but he is sure calling the shots already, at least in some quarters. It's been less than 2 weeks since DeSantis told the College Board that its AP course on African American Studies was unacceptable and violated Florida law.

The Board Responded with: "Yes, Mr. President-wannabe, how fast would you like us to gut it to meet your wishes? Would 2 weeks be fast enough?" Well, actually, the Board didn't ask. It just went ahead and removed all the material DeSantis objected to. The topics that have been deleted include critical race theory, Black queer studies, Black feminist literary thought, reparations, and intersectionality. Other topics, like Black Lives Matter, are now optional, which means they won't be on the test so nobody will teach them. A "research topic" has been added, so students who want to study it can as part of their research. Black conservatism is also a suggested research topic. Leftist writers like Kimberlé Crenshaw and Angela Davis have been removed.

Robert Patterson, a professor of African American studies at Georgetown University and cochair of the committee that developed the course, said that the course may "complicate" some students' knowledge of American history when they learn that George Washington owned many slaves and Abraham Lincoln wanted to resettle freed Black people in Africa.

It is pretty clear that the original curriculum was designed to please progressives, conservatives be damned, and surprise, the conservatives pushed back. If the lesson plans had stuck to discussing the arrival of Black people in America, slavery, emancipation, reconstruction, Jim Crow, the Civil Rights Movement, and police killings of Black people in the 21st century as well as profiles of prominent Black writers, leaders, politicians, artists, musicians, and athletes, it wouldn't have gotten DeSantis' dander up. Why is Black queer theory in there and Black opposition to abortion not?

David Coleman, head of the College Board, said that the changes were not made to bow to political pressure. Literally: "At the College Board, we can't look to statements of political leaders." In other words, just 2 weeks after DeSantis said the curriculum was not acceptable to him it magically changed, with all the elements DeSantis didn't like removed. Coincidences happen all the time, after all.

Big states get to throw their weight around all the time. When California adopts emission standards for cars, it is sometimes easier for car manufacturers to make all their cars meet the California standards rather than have separate production processes for California cars and not-California cars. When Texas adopts standards for history books, it is sometimes easier for publishers to do what Texas wants than have two versions of a book. Now when Florida pipes up about an AP course that a relatively small number of high school students will take, it is simply easier for the College Board to give in rather than have a Florida test and a not-Florida test. (V)

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