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AP Psychology can be taught ‘in its entirety’, says Florida official

Even though Florida’s government had told school superintendents that the Advanced Placement Psychology course offered to high school students violated the state’s new law prohibiting instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity, it appears students may be able to take the course after all.

In a letter to state superintendents Friday, Florida’s education commissioner Manny Diaz Jr said the state believed the psychology course could be taught “in its entirety”.

Meanwhile, the College Board that develops Advanced Placement (AP) classes accordingly said it was optimistic that Florida teachers would now be able “to teach the full course, including content on gender and sexual orientation, without fear of punishment in the upcoming school year”.

Nonetheless, despite the assurances, parents and students were left trying to figure out what to do shortly before many schools start their upcoming academic year.

The College Board’s popular AP courses help high school students gain college credits. Brandon Taylor Charpied said his daughter, who goes to school in a suburb of Jacksonville, planned to take an AP Psychology course but recently changed her mind after “rumblings” about the rift between Florida and the College Board.

“To be fair, we saw the writing on the wall,” Charpied said. “It’s a very difficult situation for high schools to navigate right now with only days until the school year starts.”

In the background of the confusion is the administration of Florida’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, who has made cultural issues a centerpiece of his announced 2024 campaign for the White House.

Florida earlier this year banned a new AP African American studies course, saying it lacked “educational value and historical accuracy” and violated state law on how race can be taught in public classrooms.

Because Florida has also prohibited teaching sexual orientation and gender identity issues to students, the College Board recommended that the state’s school districts refrain entirely from teaching the AP Psychology course for now. State officials had said school districts could teach the course in a way that complied with the law if it withheld the content on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Word of Diaz’s letter signaling a reversal from Florida’s initial stance on the psychology course came late Friday.

Limiting the AP Psychology course in Florida would have affected tens of thousands of children. More than 28,000 of the state’s students took AP Psychology last year, the New York Times reported.

Source: The Guardian