Douglas Andrews / January 25, 2023

DeSantis Expels a Woke AP Class

By rejecting a flawed AP course on African-American history, the Florida governor shows he’s unwilling to cede education to the Left.

Leftists keep underestimating Ron DeSantis. And it’s not working out well for them.

On Monday, the second-term Florida governor rejected an Advanced Placement pilot course on African-American studies recommended by the College Board.

He did so because the course goes well beyond teaching the very real and often terrible history of the black experience here in America — an experience that includes such things as the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, Reconstruction, and Jim Crow — and instead teaches radical-left concepts such as “queer theory” and the prison abolition movement.

“We want education, not indoctrination,” said DeSantis.

The White House, predictably, called the decision “incomprehensible,” and Florida State Senator Shevrin Jones, a Democrat, said the rejection of the course amounted to a “whitewash” of American history. But Florida’s education commissioner, Manny Diaz Jr., was ready for it: “Despite the lies from the Biden White House,” he said, “Florida rejected an AP course filled with Critical Race Theory and other obvious violations of Florida law. We proudly require the teaching of African American history. We do not accept woke indoctrination masquerading as education.”

Boom.

National Review’s Rich Lowry piled on: “Surely, if anyone wants to marinate in this dreck, he or she can wait to do it in college, which specializes in wasting the time of students and spreading ridiculous cant and lies.”

DeSantis took more questions about his decision at an education press conference on Monday. “In the state of Florida,” he said, “our education standards not only don’t prevent, but they require teaching black history, all of the important things. That’s part of our core curriculum. This course on Black history … what’s one of the lessons about? Queer theory? Now who would say that an important part of black history is queer theory? That is somebody pushing an agenda on our kids, and so when you look to see they have stuff about intersectionality, abolishing prisons, that’s a political agenda.”

He’s right, of course. Those are the sorts of topics one would find, sadly, in a hard-left (which is to say “typical”) university setting. And the governor doesn’t think they’re educationally appropriate for Florida schoolkids. After all, every minute a child is forced to spend on made-up academic concepts such as “heteronormativity” and critical race theory is one less minute that child is able to learn about the very real history of, for example, the Middle Passage or the Harlem Renaissance — in other words, the real history of blacks in America. So: Good for Governor DeSantis.

Still, it took guts. But it’s not the first time DeSantis has confounded the Left on matters of education. Just earlier this month, as our Thomas Gallatin reported, DeSantis announced the appointment of six new members to the New College of Florida board of trustees — a college that DeSantis envisions as “Florida’s classical college, more along the lines of a Hillsdale of the South.” In doing so, DeSantis is reasserting primacy over a public sector that conservatives long ago ceded to the Left. In this case, as Gallatin noted, “He’s willing to use the power of government to confront and eliminate the dangerous Marxist-based woke ideology that has been corrupting America’s youth; an ideology that has been turning a generation of Americans against their nation.”

Back to that Monday presser: DeSantis didn’t call it to defend his decision to reject a woke AP course. No, he had bigger fish to fry. He called it to announce “unprecedented legislation to empower educators, protect teachers from overreaching school unions and raise teacher pay.”

The idea, he said in a press release, is to create a Teacher’s Bill of Rights “that empowers educators to be leaders in their classrooms, enact paycheck protection, reduce terms for school board members from twelve to eight years, and invest another $1 billion in teacher pay.”

Who, except an angry leftist, can argue with that? And to think Florida voters came within a whisker of getting Andrew Gillum instead of this guy.

Once again, the governor of The Free State of Florida has done his homework.


UPDATE: DeSantis gets results. Yesterday, the College Board announced that it will introduce on February 1 a revised framework for its AP African-American Studies pilot course. We have a sneaking suspicion that “queer theory” won’t make the cut for this new framework.

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