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Tags: florida | advanced placement | psychology | gender identity | violation | state law | ron desantis

Florida Schools Dropping AP Psych Classes Over State Law

By    |   Wednesday, 09 August 2023 09:17 AM EDT

Florida's larger school districts are dropping plans to offer advanced placement psychology classes for high school students after state officials warned that discussion of gender identity and sexual orientation is a violation of state law.

Officials said that in eight of the 11 districts that have the largest enrollments in the class, the schools are switching to alternate courses, reports The Washington Post.

One district said it will continue to offer AP psychology, and two others are still deciding.

Florida has encouraged schools to continue the course while removing what it has determined to be objectionable material on sexual orientation and gender identity, but the state's College Board, which operates the courses, said the topics can't be removed, as they are central to the study of psychology.

The board last week informed school districts that because of Florida's law, the AP course is "effectively banned" and advised them they shouldn't offer it.

Last week, the Florida Education Department denied it had banned the course, with Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. telling school superintendents in a letter that the department is "not discouraging districts from teaching AP Psychology," reports NBC News.

However, the state has also said that teaching students about sexual orientation and gender is inappropriate.

The College Board seized on the "in its entirety" portion of the statement and declared that it represented "new guidance." The organization said, "We hope now that Florida teachers will be able to teach the full course, including content on gender and sexual orientation, without fear of punishment in the upcoming school year."

The Florida Education Association, representing teachers, wrote Diaz asking him to state "clearly and unambiguously" that the course doesn't violate state laws, and the Florida PTA also asked the department for clarification.

A spokeswoman for the state Education Department did not respond to The Post's request for comment.

The Brevard County School District, in a statement, said it's in a no-win situation because the College Board has made it clear that courses that do not include the material will not be certified as advance placement.

"If we don't teach all of the content, our students will not receive AP credit," the district said. "If we do teach all of the content, our instructors will violate the law. Therefore, we will not offer AP Psychology at any of our high schools this year."

AP psychology has been offered in Florida's schools for 30 years, and thousands of students in the state's 562 schools had been ready to take the course this fall.

The conflict about the offering comes after Florida's Parental Rights in Education Act was passed, banning classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity for students in grades K-3.

The state Education Department, under GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis, in April expanded the law to apply to students in all grades, and teachers who violate the ban could have their licenses revoked or suspended.

According to the College Board, the AP course asks students to "describe how sex and gender influence socialization and other aspects of development," an element of the class that has been there since 1993.

State officials also this year rejected an advanced placement course in African-American studies, saying the pilot version "lacks educational value."

DeSantis said the course architects were promoting a "political agenda."

In July, DeSantis, who is running for the GOP presidential nomination, drew some fire for school curriculum standards that said students were to be taught that slaves "developed skills" that "could be applied for their personal benefit."

The Tampa Bay Times also this week reported that English teachers in Hillsborough County are being told to only teach excerpts from some of William Shakespeare's plays, rather than full texts.

Sandy Fitzgerald

Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics. 

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


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Florida's larger school districts are dropping plans to offer advanced placement psychology classes for high school students after state officials warned that discussion of gender identity and sexual orientation is a violation of state law.
florida, advanced placement, psychology, gender identity, violation, state law, ron desantis
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2023-17-09
Wednesday, 09 August 2023 09:17 AM
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