Senator Powell, District 24 — Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 21, 2023
Senator Bobby Powell: Governor’s Discriminatory Move Tramples Florida Law
Florida’s Governor made an announcement this week that blocks a proposed program from its schools. This ban may interfere with Florida Law.
DeSantis announced that his administration has abruptly banned high school students from enrolling in a college-level course on African-American history. According to news reports, the governor’s education agency has disallowed public school students from enrolling in the new Advanced Placement African American studies course, claiming that it lacks educational value. In its rejection letter, the agency also claimed that the course runs “inexplicably contrary” to Florida law, begging the question of what “contrariness” state officials have in mind.
“This ban is not only discriminatory, but flies in the face of long-standing Florida law…. Almost 30 years ago, Florida lawmakers passed a law that requires public school students to be taught the history of African Americans, including slavery, abolition, and the contributions of Blacks to society. Banning this advanced placement course that incorporates these very issues not only whitewashes history, but tramples a lauded state law that guided our state into the 21st century. It puts our governor’s racial bias on full display,” State Senator Bobby Powell Jr. said.
The College Board notes that the advanced course has been in development for over a decade, and focuses not just on history, but the contributions of African-Americans in literature, science, music, geography and the arts. DeSantis’ “Stop Woke Act” signed into law in 2022 essentially prohibits instruction on race relations or diversity that imply a person’s status as either privileged or oppressed is necessarily determined by his or her race, color, national origin, or sex. The bill also bans both schools and workplaces from “subjecting any student or employee to training or instruction that espouses, promotes, advances, inculcates, or compels such individuals to believe specified concepts constitutes discrimination based on race, color, sex, or national origin.”
The course was recently expanded as an offering to hundreds of high schools throughout the nation after an initial run on a limited, pilot basis.
“In his drive to squash basic freedom of thought and speech in Florida, the governor has twisted a course designed to enrich our understanding of American history, and celebrate pioneering African-American accomplishments, into a tool for propaganda and political ambitions,” Senator Powell stated.