Florida governor Ron Desantis has led a movement of censoring woke topics in Florida schools and workplaces.
Florida governor Ron Desantis has led a movement of censoring “woke” topics in Florida schools and workplaces.
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Florida government creates controversy with possible AP Psychology ban (EDITORIAL)

Florida’s government has become increasingly concerned about “woke” education. With a charge led by governor Ron Desantis, the Board of Education has been striking down discussions about gender and sexual orientation. With another ban discussed, these measures have once again reached national attention. 

On August 3, College Board took to their instagram to post that AP Psychology would be “effectively banned” in Florida. This ban came from the Board of Education attempting to cut discussions about gender and sexual orientation out of the class curriculum, as it goes against Florida law. College Board would not allow the class to be considered “AP” without the full curriculum. Because of this dispute, College Board decided that the class could not be offered at all since it could not be taught in its entirety. They released their full statement on their website, expressing their disappointment with Florida’s law. 

 

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Their full statement includes, “​​To be clear, any AP Psychology course taught in Florida will violate either Florida law or college requirements. Therefore, we advise Florida districts not to offer AP Psychology until Florida reverses their decision and allows parents and students to choose to take the full course.” 

The Florida law that the course violates, commonly known as the “Don’t Say Gay” laws, restricts classroom instruction on gender and sexual orientation. This law gained national attention back in early 2022 and was passed in July 2022. It even created disputes between Desantis and The Walt Disney Company, who publicly condemned the law.  

Many people around the nation were upset and devastated by the apparent ban. AP Psychology was one of the more popular AP classes, with 28,000 students in Florida taking the class last year. AP classes are very important for high school students to gain credits and boost their GPA. The removal of AP Psychology threatened the credit that many students rely on, especially seniors applying to colleges. 

The ban has also renewed fears about the government’s ability to censor and limit children’s education. Monitoring what children are taught has become increasingly important to Florida’s government. Earlier in 2023, Florida’s Board of Education struck down a trial AP African American class, which focused on the experiences and contributions of African Americans. Desantis’s press secretary claimed that the class was “a vehicle for a political agenda.” It also possibly violated the new “Stop WOKE” Act, which banned instruction of critical race theory. 

While the ban has raised concerns about censorship, some think that banning AP classes is a good thing for a different reason. AP classes have become very influential in high schools as it allows students to possibly attain college credits or give a boost to their GPA. Especially in private schools, AP classes have become extremely popular and highly recommended by counselors. 

College Board’s ever increasing importance has raised questions about the presence of a private corporation in education. AP classes have become essential for students applying to college. Many people don’t support a private corporation having control over what is taught in classrooms. AP Psychology teacher Dana Nazaretian stated that without the “umbrella” of College Board’s required topics, teachers could tailor the classes to students’ interests and have more fun. 

History teacher and AP reader Lori Kearney said, “I don’t think it’s the job of College Board to create a rigorous class, it’s the educational system. I don’t need a company to tell me how to create a rigorous class. If it was a college class, what professor would be monitored by a company?” 

While many disputes continue over the ban, it has not completely taken place. Florida’s Board of Education did not agree to the ban and eventually decided that the class could still be taught in full, but in an “age-appropriate way.” As the new school year started, AP Psychology classes continued to be taught in Florida. However, many are still wary because of the ban, and it seems as though many educators are still avoiding the possibly controversial topics. 

“The counselors said [the ban] doesn’t really affect us. Our teacher just doesn’t talk about a specific topic. However, College Board isn’t changing anything, so it could be on the test and we just have to study it on our own. I think it’s a little odd because AP Psychology is usually high schoolers, so we’re not as impressionable as younger kids,” said Emma Kaiser (’24).

As the ban didn’t actually take place, fear arose from the possibility that it could. Florida is becoming increasingly restrictive with what can be taught and discussed. Many Floridians fear that Florida will become even more censored and separate from the laws of the other states. National concern has grown over the policies of Desantis, who is also a 2024 presidential candidate. It is yet to be seen just how much the government can control and limit, but the fine line between keeping people safe and being too restrictive is becoming increasingly blurred in the US. 

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