▶ Watch Video: College Board releases revised AP curriculum for African American studies

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced on Tuesday that the College Board’s latest Advanced Placement course offering, AP African American Studies, will expand to 26 schools in the 2023-24 school year. 

The course was rolled out in a two-year pilot program across 60 unnamed U.S. high schools this year, one of which is in New Jersey. It is the College Board’s first new offering since 2014, and gives students “the opportunity to learn about the innumerable ways in which Black Americans have shaped and strengthened our country,” said Murphy in a statement.   

“As governors like Florida’s Ron DeSantis prioritize political culture wars ahead of academic success, New Jersey will proudly teach our kids that Black History is American History,” Murphy continued, in pointed remarks.  

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gestures during a press conference to announce the Moving Florida Forward initiative at the SunTrax Test Facility in Auburndale, Florida. 

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The decision from Murphy serves in stark contrast to the Florida Department of Education, which is under the administration of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, and has been embroiled in ongoing conflict with the College Board over the course. The College Board last week accused the Florida Department of Education of “slander” that it has characterized as “politically motivated” after ongoing critiques of the curriculum.

“While the DeSantis Administration stated that AP African American Studies ‘significantly lacks educational value’, New Jersey will stand on the side of teaching our full history,” added Murphy.

The AP program, which gives high school students an opportunity to take college-level courses before graduation, covers 38 subjects, including English literature and composition, U.S. government and politics, statistics and art history. 

FILE — Demonstrators are gathered outside of the Texas State Capitol during a voting rights rally on the first day of the 87th Legislature’s special session on July 8, 2021, in Austin, Texas. 

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“It is an honor to teach AP African American History as it represents an opportunity to provide our students with deep, engaging exploration and discussion of our experiences in the United States of America,” said Alnazir Blackman, who will teach AP African American Studies at Science Park High School in New Jersey in the upcoming academic year, in a statement. “I am certain the ancestors would be pleased to know that we have come to a place in our journey worthy of an AP course.”  

“African American history has been enshrined in our statewide social studies standards since the 1990s, and subsequently codified in law with the passage of the 2002 Amistad legislation that requires New Jersey schools to incorporate African American history into social studies curriculum,” added Acting Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education, Dr. Angelica Allen-McMillan.

The AP African American Studies program had been in the works for over a decade before its initial pilot, and the curriculum spans many topics related to Black history and culture, including literature, political science and geography.