Let’s Talk About AP African American Studies

Lets Talk About AP African American Studies

Bella Makeig, Contributor

Have you been taught about the history of the College Board? Advanced Placement courses have become very popular among students across the United States. With the academic rigor of O’Dowd, it is almost expected for students to jump at the opportunity. Still, in light of the events in Florida, the O’Dowd AP African American Studies class decided to take an introspective look at the origins of the advanced education system. It was built on eugenics. Most recognize that word in connection to the Nazis and their perfect Aryan race. Nazism started in the United States, along with eugenics. The College Board was established in 1900 to separate different “gene pools.” Carl Brigham, known as the father of the SAT was a psychology professor at Princeton University. He created the Army Alpha Test, an intelligence test for soldiers in WWI. Brigham used these scores to argue that as long as the country continues to integrate, the intelligence of its people will decline, which specifically targets people of color for its decline in education and intelligence.

This history is one of a long list of racist and selective histories of education in the United States. It is important to recognize this when addressing the current events of today. In efforts to make reparations in education, the College Board is seeking to expand the advanced education demographic. “Black students on average do not take as many AP exams and do not score well enough on the AP [exam] to earn college credit. But there’s long been a desire to get more Black students involved with AP [classes]. And while AP African American history is not only for Black students, there was an assumption that it would be of particular importance to them,” states Scott Jaschik, the editor of Inside Higher Ed. on the Vox podcast. This expansion in education is important in a nationwide boost in higher education in recent years.

With all of this in mind, it just makes it harder to conceive the events of the Florida legislature. DeSantis claims that Advanced Placement African American Studies “lack[s] educational value and historical accuracy.” Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham and Henry Louis Gates Jr., the principal organizers of the class curriculum are both Ivy-level professors and well-established in their fields. One of the unique qualities of the class is that because the idea of African Studies on a federal level is so new, only really beginning in the 70’s, students still are able to learn from founding scholars.

Another argument of the Florida governor is that these teachings are “pushing an agenda.” In DeSantis’s eyes that agenda is “queer theory” and education on this country’s racist past. There are no politics in history. The teachings are unbiased. One cannot blame the leftist parties if students across the board want and value honest knowledge of the United States. It is not an agenda to teach history. The reality of these opinions is just plain racism, and DeSantis’s individual agenda to gain attention and support for his possible candidacy for president.

With all of this being said, this class is for teenagers. If there is one thing about teenagers it is their curiosity and goal to go against authoritative principles. Similar to rock and roll, once you outlaw something it will only create a stamp of approval for young people. This is the hope of many. Already there is more interest in the class worldwide. Although DeSantis dimmed the accomplishment of the College Board and all of the ethnic studies educators out there, he also brought it to an international stage where most are able to see its value and rightful place in our education system.