For the first time this fall, 60 high schools will offer African American Studies to study Black Pride

For the first time this fall, 60 high schools will offer African American Studies to study Black Pride

About 60 high schools across the country will offer a new Advanced Placement African American course this fall that will include classes on black pride, black power and black feminism.

Although the college board that approved the pilot program declined to release a curriculum or name the schools that will teach the course, Marlon Williams-Clark, a history teacher at Florida State University schools, identified himself as one of the instructors for The New Course, the New York Times reported.

Williams-Clark, 35, said the course would provide an in-depth look at African-American history, but some worry the AP course could be a ploy to teach critical race theory in schools, a controversial topic that has recently sparked a sparked a culture war in the United States.

Eric Welch, a member of the Republican Board of Education in Williamson County, Tennessee, told the Times he will review the new program’s content for political bias.

“It would bother me as a school board member to have course material based on the agenda,” he said. He added, “We’re trying to educate, not indoctrinate.”

Marlon Williams-Clark, a history teacher at Florida State University schools, will teach a new Advanced Placement African American studies course this fall that will include lessons on black pride, black power and black feminism

Williams-Clark said the course would provide an in-depth look at African-American history, but some worry the AP course could be a ploy to teach critical race theory schools

Williams-Clark said the course would provide an in-depth look at African-American history, but some worry the AP course could be a ploy to teach critical race theory schools

Williams-Clark, who teaches sixth through eighth graders, said his students will learn about early African kingdoms, the transatlantic slave trade, abolition and black pride movements throughout history.

He claimed he would adhere to Florida’s standards for history classes and that the course did not violate laws banning CRT that Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law in April.

Eric Welch, a member of the Republican Board of Education in Williamson County, Tennessee, said he will review the course for any attempt to

Eric Welch, a member of the Republican Board of Education in Williamson County, Tennessee, said he will review the course for any attempt to “indoctrinate” students.

“I think people need to understand that critical race theory is not an element of this course,” Williams-Clark told the Times. “As for the 1619 project, this course isn’t like that either.

“There could be elements that overlap. But this course is a comprehensive, mainstream course on the African-American experience.”

In a statement on the program, which has been in the works for a decade, the College Board said more schools will join the program over the next year, with hopes of rolling it out statewide by the 2024-2025 school year.

“We hope it broadens the invitation to Advanced Placement and inspires students to a fuller understanding of American history,” Trevor Packer, senior vice president of AP and Instruction at the College Board, said in a statement.

Henry Gates Jr., a former chair of Harvard’s African and African American Studies department who served as an advisor on the new course, said that while CRT isn’t included in the class, it could be addressed shortly thereafter when students discuss the Moderns discuss conversations about racial pedagogy.

“This hypothetical unit would discuss the controversies surrounding different interpretative frames used to analyze racial history in America,” Gates Jr. told the Times.

“I am certainly not advocating using these theories as an interpretative framework for the course itself. That’s a big difference.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (above) has lobbied for the state's move away from CRT and banned it from schools.  Williams-Clark said the new course did not violate the new law and that it would follow Florida's guidelines on racial education

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (above) has lobbied for the state’s move away from CRT and banned it from schools. Williams-Clark said the new course did not violate the new law and that it would follow Florida’s guidelines on racial education

The launch of the new course comes amid a nationwide crackdown on critical race theory, with mostly Republican lawmakers passing legislation restricting racial education.

So far this year, 36 states have proposed 137 bills aimed at restricting teaching about race and gender, up from 22 states and 54 bills last year, according to a report by PEN America.

For the past year, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnel and dozens of Republican senators have opposed the Biden administration’s push to promote programs to embed racism in American society, calling it “divisive nonsense.”

“Americans have never decided that our children should be taught that our country is inherently evil,” the senators wrote in a letter to the Secretary of Education.

CRITICAL RACE THEORY: WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

The struggle for critical race theory in schools has escalated in the United States in recent years.

The theory has sparked heated debate nationwide following last year’s Black Lives Matter protests across the country and the launch of the 1619 Project.

The 1619 Project, published by The New York Times in 2019 to mark the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans on American shores, reframes American history by “exploring the aftermath of slavery and the contributions of black Americans to the Center of the USA puts narrative’.

The critical race theory debate concerns concerns that some children are being indoctrinated into thinking that white people are inherently racist or sexist.

Opponents of critical race theory have argued that it reduces people to the categories of “privileged” or “oppressed” based on their skin color.

But proponents say the theory is critical to eradicating racism because it examines how race affects American politics, culture and the law.