Earlier this month, the state of Florida rejected a proposed Advanced Placement course for high schoolers that covers African American studies. It had been in a trial phase in dozens of high schools across the country, including Florida. But Florida’s Department of Education says the curriculum violates the Stop WOKE Act, a law Governor Ron DeSantis signed last year that restricts how race and sexual orientation can be taught in classrooms. Now a group of students is threatening to sue.
Loyola Law School Professor Jessica Levinson says the law is so broad that some people might not understand what it bans.
“It basically says that lessons on race and other issues have to be taught in an ‘objective manner, not used to indoctrinate or persuade students to a particular point of view.’ And that you cannot teach students in a way where they might feel responsible for historic wrongs regarding race, color, sex, or national origin. … One of the problems with respect to this particular law is that people have said, ‘I really don't know when I'm going to run afoul of it.’”
She adds that the U.S. needs a uniform standard when it comes to AP courses. “We could get into a situation where … the College Board is making changes to try and work with Florida. But then other states are saying, ‘Look, you're depriving our students of really important knowledge.’ … It all leads back to the idea that we're going to have to figure out how much, if any, of the Stop WOKE Act actually can be applied, and how it can be applied in what type of situation.”