DeSantis Bans African American Studies ‘Erosion of Traditional Public Knowledge’

DeSantis Bans African American Studies ‘Erosion of Traditional Public Knowledge’

  • The DeSantis administration blocked the teaching of African American studies at high schools this week.
  • The move is one of many in a pattern of far-right policies that restrict education in the state.
  • “It feels like there is an erosion of democracy,” a school board member told Insider.

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration banned Advanced Placement African American Studies classes from being taught in Florida schools this week.

The Florida Department of Education referred to the history course as “inexplicably contrary to Florida law” and said it “significantly lacks educational value,” according to ABC News. The board stated that Black feminist writers and activists such as Angela Davis, Kimberlé Crenshaw, and Bells were included in the curriculum, according to The New York Times.

In contrast, the College Board, which is piloting the class in many high schools across the country, describes it as an interdisciplinary course that taps into a variety of fields — literature, the arts and humanities, political science, geography, and science — to explore the critical contributions and experiences of African Americans.”

Hillsborough County School Board member Jessica Vaughn, who represents District 3 in Tampa, told Insider she was “upset and horrified, but not surprised” by the decision.

While she was speaking specifically to DeSantis’ anti-mask mandate in schools in 2021, Vaughn previously told Insider’s Kelsey Vlamis that local elected officials such as school board members should have the ability to “make decisions for the people who elected us.”

“In Florida, they’re slowly eroding traditional public education, but since COVID, there’s been an accelerated approach, and part of that seems to be causing a lot of chaos and a lot of distant politics -right to push when it comes to education,” Vaughn told Insider on Saturday.

Recently, Florida has pushed through a series of tough legislation – such as the Stop Woke Act, a ban on Critical Race Theory, and the Don’t Say Gay Act – aimed at restricting the teaching of race and gender topics. The state also placed restrictions on school libraries.

“We will never surrender to the awakening crowd,” DeSantis said during his inaugural address earlier this month. “Florida is where the woke go to die.”

“We must ensure that our institutions of higher learning are focused on academic excellence and the pursuit of truth, not the imposition of trendy ideologies,” DeSantis also said at his inauguration.

“The laws are very vague and vague, and at the very least, if they’re going to make very strong laws like this, it’s really important to have guidance and clarification on those, or else it leaves everyone in a gray area, ” Vaughn insisted.

She added that the legislation has a “chilling” effect on educators who are likely to refuse to teach such things, wary of keeping their jobs.

“I don’t really see where the solution is. I mean, other than the erosion of traditional public education, it feels like the erosion of democracy,” Vaughn told Insider. “When you choose that teachers can’t teach history or don’t have inclusive classrooms that support all their students or don’t want to teach anything that resembles socialism – even though that’s a basic form of government, it should for you to be. studying them all – so I don’t really understand how that’s any different than fascism,” she said.

DeSantis’ office, the College Board, and the Florida Department of Education did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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