In the Battle of the Governors Over AP Course, Who Will Win?
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker proves again that he is an inveterate leftist—far leftist—hell-bent on using public money and public schools to advance his far-left theories on race and sexuality. Pritzker’s newest educational goal is to “queer” public high schools by forcing the College Board’s new Advanced Placement African American Studies (APAAS) course to include the “role played by black queer African Americans.”
Opportunist Pritzker did this after learning that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis had rejected that course unless and until it was purged of ideas derived from critical race theory (CRT), which violate Florida’s STOP W.O.K.E law. DeSantis has specifically identified the inclusion of leftist theories on intersectionality and neo-Marxism in the APAAS course as objectionable.
The influential College Board, which creates AP curricula and administers AP exams that high school students can take to earn college credit, has now got a battle royale on its hands, and DeSantis is a formidable foe.
Once Pritzker got wind of DeSantis’ rejection of the spanking new APAAS course, the morally untethered, reactionary, and capaciously ambitious Pritzker wrote to College Board CEO David Coleman (architect of Common Core Standards):
I am extremely troubled by recent news reports that claim Governor DeSantis is pressuring the College Board to change the AP African American Studies course in order to fit Florida’s racist and homophobic laws.
Illinois expects any AP course offered on African American Studies to include a factual accounting of history, including the role played by black queer Americans.
What troubles Pritzker most about DeSantis is that his popular decisions on many fronts, including education, jeopardize Pritzker’s presidential aspirations.
And so, the unoriginal Pritzker turned to hurling the tired epithets “racist” and “homophobic” at the politically astute and uncommonly brave DeSantis.
Word to Pritzker: the belief that volitional homoerotic acts undermine human dignity is not evidence of either irrational fear or hatred. That belief is no more evidence of fear or hatred than is the belief that volitional sexual acts between siblings are immoral. But then, Pritzker has never been known for either deep thinking or moral principle.
Pritzker continues his overbearing insistence that the APAAS course include leftist historical fantasies:
Illinois will closely examine the official coursework to ensure it includes all necessary history, starting with this nation’s foundation built on slavery … and the decades of rebuilding and efforts of black Americans to continue their fight for equality and equity to this day.
Perhaps while Pritzker’s revisionist band of merry pranksters are closely examining the official coursework of the APAAS, they will stumble upon some inconvenient historical truths, such as the fact that America’s foundation was not built on slavery. While the evil institution of slavery existed in America, as it did in Europe, the Caribbean, and African nations, this nation’s foundation was not built on it.
Nor are blacks today fighting for equality in that they are not denied equality, which is why prevaricating Pritzker had to slip in “equity.” The dirty little secret that Pritzker doesn’t want anyone to realize is that equity—that is, equal outcomes—depends on treating people unequally.
Pritzker sanctimoniously proclaimed to the College Board what “Illinois expects” and what “Illinois will closely examine.” Clearly, “Illinois” refers only to Pritzker, his collaborators, and his toadies, because huge swathes of Illinois oppose and condemn any AP course including information about the homoerotic predilections or crossdressing fetishes of anyone of any color.
Pritzker concludes with this statement dripping with irony:
If we refuse to teach our next generation honestly we are bound to repeat old cycles and reopen old wounds—fueling the animus that Governor DeSantis uses to score attention and divisive headlines. … I urge you to … refuse to bow to political pressure that would ask you to rewrite our nation’s true, if sometimes unpleasant, history. One Governor should not have the power to dictate the facts of U.S. history. In Illinois, we reject any curriculum modifications designed to appease extremists like the Florida Governor and his allies.
It is CRT that is dishonest, that has reopened healing wounds, that is fueling animus, that is dividing Americans. It is Gov. DeSantis who refuses to bow to political pressure from the Man, who is demanding history be modified and rewritten in Newspeak. Pritzker should not have the power to alter facts for the goals and purposes of woke ideologues.
DeSantis introduced yet another important idea. He suggested it might be time to break up the monopoly for the provision of college credit courses that the College Board has long enjoyed:
Nobody elected (the College Board) to anything. They’re just … providing services, and so you can either utilize those services or not. They have provided these AP courses for a long time, but … there are probably some other vendors who may be able to do that job as good or maybe even a lot better.
Stanley Kurtz, writing in National Review, outlines a little-discussed but serious problem with the College Board’s monopoly:
The underlying problem is the contradiction between the de facto national curriculum created by the College Board’s ever-expanding menu of AP courses on the one hand and America’s federalist system on the other. School curricula are rightly controlled by local districts and states. The College Board’s AP system constitutes a kind of end run around that.
That didn’t matter much before about 2014. Prior to that, the College Board gave individual AP teachers considerable flexibility on their curricular approach, so long as they covered a set of required topics. Beginning around 2014, however, the College Board began to issue detailed curriculum frameworks for its AP courses. Those curriculum frameworks are put together by the kind of professors who’ve thoroughly politicized America’s colleges and universities. This creation of a national curriculum through the back door allowed the College Board to impose college-style leftism on America’s high schools. In effect, the College Board’s post-2014 strategy is a way of nullifying democratic control of our schools.
And with an ever-expanding set of politicized AP courses, the College Board’s ideological takeover of our schools continues to grow.
If the College Board decides to revise the APAAS course again, I have two unsolicited suggestions:
1. Create a development team composed equally and equitably of black “progressives” and black conservatives.
2. Add a section on black perspectives on CRT that includes equally and equitably the views of blacks who affirm CRT and those who oppose it.
For now the victory goes to Florida Governor Desantis, let’s hope that remains.