After banning an African American studies course, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is under fire over education equality. Despite protests, the Republican governor supports the restriction, citing concerns about leftist objectives like gay studies and prison abolition invading the curriculum. Black leaders, especially Democratic lawmakers and religion leaders, strongly reject the decision and want a more inclusive and honest history.
“This ban devalues our history and undermines educational progress.”
Tallahassee preacher R. B. Holmes, Jr.
Governor DeSantis did not reverse the order during a press conference, hinting that the course may go beyond requirements and include critical racial theory. The College Board, which administers the SATs, spent years preparing the African American studies course, which was being piloted in over 60 schools nationwide.
Academics, advocacy groups, and liberal lawmakers, including the Biden administration, have slammed the ban on African American studies. Black church leaders are marching on Tallahassee to protest the ban and hold the DeSantis administration accountable. They join Black state lawmakers in accusing the Florida Department of Education of erasing history.
“Blocking students from learning about the contributions of Black Americans is a disservice to our nation’s education.”
Tallahassee pastor Rev. R. B. Holmes, Jr. said, “This ban devalues our history and undermines educational progress.” During her visit to Tallahassee, Vice President Kamala Harris denounced the ban and stressed the need of teaching Black American history.
Florida has banned critical race theory, the 1619 Project, and the African American studies course to limit race discourse in schools. “Black Queer Studies,” reparations advocacy, activism, and intersectionality, all linked with critical race theory, were cited as reasons for Florida’s education agency’s rejection.
Despite the agency’s reasons, critics say the prohibition stifles important dialogues and deprives kids of a complete history education. Florida’s “Stop WOKE Act,” which extends anti-discrimination laws and prohibits race and sex-based guilt or blame, sparked the uproar.
Florida law requires public schools to teach pupils about African American history, including enslavement, and how prejudice, racism, and stereotyping affect individual liberty. Governor DeSantis thinks the College Board course pushes a political agenda on pupils. “That’s Florida standards wrong,” he said. We educate students facts and critical thinking, but not an agenda. “Using Black history to promote queer theory is political.”
The African American studies course prohibition highlights Florida’s continuous fight for equitable and inclusive education. The curriculum and Black history debate will shape conversation.