When Truth Hurts: Reactions to the Piloted AP African American Studies Program

By Ricardo Phipps


The Advanced Placement (AP) program has a reputation for allowing high school students to earn college credit through rigorous, college-level course work and examination at their high schools. The recent piloting of a new AP African American studies course has generated substantial controversy from critics who have labeled it as divisive and indoctrinating because it includes contemporary, hot-button topics that affect the African American community, such as Black Lives Matter, Black queer studies, and incarceration disparity. This article explores the reactions to the AP African American studies course by some states, particularly Florida, where a ban on the course has already been enacted. At a time when academic freedom is in jeopardy in so many contexts, this reaction to AP African American studies has the potential to place strict limitations on students, teachers, as well as organizations like the College Board that lead curriculum development.

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