Florida’s Department of Education is in the news again, and that’s never good. In June, the DOE tried to get the College Board to change its AP psychology coursework to eliminate lessons on gender identity and sexual orientation. Having learned its lesson from the AP African American studies fiasco early in the year, the College Board said nope:
(Tampa Bay Times) “Please know that we will not modify our courses to accommodate restrictions on teaching essential, college-level topics,” the group wrote at the time. “Doing so would break the fundamental promise of AP: Colleges wouldn’t broadly accept that course for credit and that course wouldn’t prepare students for success in the discipline.”
But the state board released a list of approved social studies courses in July, and AP psych was on it, as if the College Board had agreed to censor coursework. The College Board only learned that this week when someone who was in a private conference between school superintendents and state DOE officials clued them in. So they issued an even more definitive nope:
“Our policy remains unchanged,” the group said in a statement released Thursday. “Any course that censors required course content cannot be labeled ‘AP’ or ‘Advanced Placement,’ and the ‘AP Psychology’ designation cannot be utilized on student transcripts.”
Hooray for the College Board, which learned you can’t knuckle under to authoritarian bullies and keep your academic integrity. But it sucks for the 30K students who planned to take AP psych this school year. AP psych is one of the most popular advanced courses, and it can save students thousands in college tuition if they earn credits in high school.
Districts are looking at offering courses from Cambridge International and International Baccalaureate, which reportedly told state officials they could comply with Florida’s censorship requirements. I say “reportedly” because state officials either lied about or where clueless regarding the AP psych class a month ago. It’s an absolute clown show, and I’ve got to think parents who get wind of it will be pissed off.
When the College Board originally told Florida it wouldn’t alter coursework in June, the American Psychological Association released a statement commending that decision. This week, APA CEO Arthur Evans encouraged IB and Cambridge to sack up and refuse to cave to the censors too:
“Offering what amounts to an incomplete psychology course will reduce the number of people who can obtain college credits for psychology in high school and negatively impact pathways for psychological scientists as well as mental health professionals in Florida, where students and the broader population desperately need more mental health resources.”
Emphasis mine. It’s factually correct, but that sentence also contains enough shade to frost Miami Beach in July. Well done, APA!