Students in Arkansas will not get graduation credit for Advanced Placement African American studies.
Arkansas is the latest state to reevaluate the course, which was first introduced in some classrooms in 2022.
The Department of Education said the class is a pilot program and has yet to be fully vetted and, accordingly, will not be part of the state’s advanced placement classes. Unlike a similar rule in Florida, Arkansas’s policy allows schools to count AP African American studies toward their grade point averages.
The Department also cited ambiguity in a new state law, which regulates the way racial issues are instructed in state schools.
“Without clarity, we cannot approve a pilot that may unintentionally put a teacher at risk of violating Arkansas law,” said Department spokeswoman Kimberly Mundell in a statement, per AP News.
“The department encourages the teaching of all American history and supports rigorous courses not based on opinions or indoctrination,” added Mundell
The Department of Education decided to drop AP African American studies from the list of classes that can be used to fulfill graduation requirements on Aug. 11 – two days before the school year began at several Arkansas high schools that planned to offer the course.
“The College Board, which designs and administers AP exams, is currently piloting AP African American Studies at select U.S. high schools,” reports The Arkansas Times. “Sixty schools around the country, including Central High in Little Rock and The Academies at Jonesboro High School, piloted the course last year. For the coming school year, the pilot program will expand to hundreds of schools, and students will test for college credit in the course for the first time in spring 2024.”
College Board predicts that all schools will be able to offer AP African American studies by the 2024-25 school year.
“We expect AP African American Studies to have a significant positive impact on college course enrollments within the field,” states College Board. “Research consistently shows that students who take AP courses are more likely to take additional related coursework in college and to major or minor in that discipline.”
College Board has revised the course on at least two occasions this year to ensure the course could be offered to as many students as possible. The course no longer includes information about the “Movement for Black Lives, scholars associated with critical race theory and the Black queer experience,” per MSNBC columnist Nayyera Haq.
“Liberals denounced the curriculum, the first of its kind, as a ‘watering down’ of necessary truths and an erasure of the Black experience,” added Haq.
Arkansas has said it will revisit its classification of AP African American studies when the class is finalized by College Board.
“The state cannot give AP credit for a course that has not yet been finalized,” said Alexa Henning, the department’s communication director, to Fox News. “Once the pilot is completed and AP releases the final course, ADE will review the final submission at that time.”