Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » *** UPDATED x1 *** College Board calls New York Times story “gross misrepresentation”
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*** UPDATED x1 *** College Board calls New York Times story “gross misrepresentation”

Wednesday, Feb 1, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

*** UPDATE *** From the governor…

Members of my administration have been in contact with the College Board today to discuss the final curriculum for the AP African American History course. Although we were pleased to see many important core ideas remain in place, there are still significant issues with the way the College Board has chosen to present this curriculum. Refusing to name the components of Black history that Governor DeSantis is most afraid of like intersectionality, feminism and queer Black life, but still including them in the curriculum can be viewed as a weak attempt to please extremists. I’ve asked the College Board to provide more information on the process behind amending this curriculum and will continue to work with them to understand these changes because it is important to me that all students feel represented in the history they learn. I look forward to Illinois educators taking on this task because I know our state is one that is inclusive and welcoming for all.

[ *** End Of Update *** ]

* NY Times

After heavy criticism from Gov. Ron DeSantis, the College Board released on Wednesday an official curriculum for its new Advanced Placement course in African American Studies — stripped of much of the subject matter that had angered the governor and other conservatives.

The College Board purged the names of many Black writers and scholars associated with critical race theory, the queer experience and Black feminism. It ushered out some politically fraught topics, like Black Lives Matter, from the formal curriculum.

And it added something new: “Black conservatism” is now offered as an idea for a research project.

You’ll recall that Gov. JB Pritzker expressed his anger with Gov. DeSantis on this topic, so I’ve been waiting for a response from the governor’s office.

* While we wait, the College Board has pushed back hard on the NYT story, which has caused quite a bit of stir online

Today’s New York Times piece about the official AP African American Studies framework is a gross misrepresentation of the content of the course and the process by which it was developed. 

The Times reporting is rife with inaccuracies. Despite their claim that Black feminism is “purged” from the course, the facts are that the course framework explicitly includes this material as required content. That section, Black Women and Movements, can be seen below: […]

Note especially the last required topic: Black lesbians’ special role in developing alternatives to mainstream feminism are cited explicitly, including the Combahee River Collective.

The Times reports that gay experience is not in the course, but deliberately ignores that several explicit references to gay Black Americans were included. In addition to the previous material about the role of Black lesbians, a section was also included in the Civil Rights Movement portion calling out Bayard Rustin and Pauli Murray by name and noting their contributions as required content. […]

The Times argues the revisions were made in response to Florida, despite the fact that the College Board has time-stamped records of revisions from December 22, 2022. The article simply ignored that the core revisions were substantially complete – including the removal of all secondary sources – by December 22, weeks before Florida’s objections were shared.

The fact of the matter is that this landmark course has been shaped over years by the most eminent scholars in the field, not political influence.

Dr. Robert Patterson, Professor of African American Studies at Georgetown University and co-chair of the committee of professors and teachers who developed this course, gives the facts of the revision process as follows: “The development of the AP African American Studies course has been an on-going, iterative process that calls upon the expertise of teachers, professors, and experts who understand the key concepts, themes, and methodologies of African American Studies, and this refining process, which is a part of all AP courses, has operated independently from political pressure.”

Dr. Kerry Haynie, Dean of the Social Sciences and Professor, Department of Political Science and Department of African & African American Studies at Duke University, and member of the development committee, put today’s Times story in stark relief: “It’s wildly misleading, at best. We reject any claim that our work either indoctrinates students or, on the other hand, has bowed to political pressure.”

While the leaked and much discussed pilot framework experimented in the assignment of secondary or derivative sources – a privilege of a pilot phase – the fact is that no AP courses, not one, not ever, has required a list of secondary sources in their frameworks. Specific theories in secondary sources, no matter how brilliant, are not part of required AP topics. The Times ignores this fact, and their reckless mischaracterization of our processes and motives is deeply damaging to the promise of this course and the millions of lives it could enlighten and enrich.

The Times reporting is an outlier to otherwise accurate reporting about the framework. But most importantly, we encourage everyone to read the framework. Before criticizing this remarkable work of scholarship, we ask that you immerse yourselves in the facts of what’s there and why.

The AP Program is focused on our long-established processes for creating compelling, meaningful college-level coursework, and in creating an historic course in African American Studies that will make generations of students better informed than they are today. [Emphasis added.]

Stay tuned.


  1. - MisterJayEm - Wednesday, Feb 1, 23 @ 2:42 pm:

    the core revisions were substantially complete – including the removal of all secondary sources – by December 22, weeks before Florida’s objections were shared.

    “We were going to do the wrong thing long before DeSantis even got involved.”

    Weird flex, but ok.

    – MrJM

  2. - Google Is Your Friend - Wednesday, Feb 1, 23 @ 2:50 pm:

    Kind of interesting that the College Board points to time-stamped changes, but won’t share that evidence publicly.

  3. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Feb 1, 23 @ 2:56 pm:

    === but won’t share that evidence publicly. ===

    Have you asked?

  4. - MidwesternWorker - Wednesday, Feb 1, 23 @ 3:09 pm:

    I absolutely believe they likely made these changes before Governor DeSantis ever spoke out. What I don’t believe is that they made these changes independent of the fear of political backlash from him or any other DeSantis types, which is still cowardly. There’s just no way the things they chose to cut just so happened to be the most prominent right wing talking points while “black conservatism” was added at the same time.

  5. - ArchPundit - Wednesday, Feb 1, 23 @ 3:16 pm:

    Kerry was chief reader of the Government & Politics exam for several years and during his time and the chief reader after him, we saw a dumbing down of the tests to avoid political discomfort with the curriculum.

    So whatever.

  6. - Jerry - Wednesday, Feb 1, 23 @ 3:16 pm:

    Who really cares what DeSantos thinks? He’s an elitist Ivy League grad himself.

  7. - lake county democrat - Wednesday, Feb 1, 23 @ 3:17 pm:

    I’ll leave it to others to dive into the details, but this part of the Board’s response sounds awfully weak and makes me suspect of the rest of their defense:

    “The Times reports that gay experience is not in the course, but deliberately ignores that several explicit references to gay Black Americans are included.”

    I thought there was an entire section devoted to the role of gay Blacks in the old version. Similarly, I don’t know that “Black Women and Movements” necessarily equates to feminism - there are important women figures in Revolution War-era America and you could tell their stories and not have a feminist angle.

  8. - Roman - Wednesday, Feb 1, 23 @ 3:27 pm:

    == The Times argues the revisions were made in response to Florida, despite the fact that the College Board has time-stamped records of revisions from December 22, 2022. ==

    I mean if that’s true, the Times got the story wrong. The lede sentence is “After heavy criticism from Gov. Ron DeSantis…”

    My understanding is the College Board has this class in development right now — they’re supposed to be taking input from historians and teachers as the curriculum is shaped.

    I’m not fan of DeSantis’ phony “anti-woke” crusade or Critical Race Theory. If the College Board can develop a curriculum that upsets both of those extremes, they’re probably on to something.

  9. - Anyone Remember - Wednesday, Feb 1, 23 @ 3:41 pm:

    As reprehensible as the College Board is, the New York Times printed the “stories” of Jeff Gerth and Judith Miller. So …

  10. - SWIL_Voter - Wednesday, Feb 1, 23 @ 3:46 pm:

    What a pathetic response. We can see the changes they made. The idea they were made not due to political pressure just isn’t believable. The “accurate” reporting they cite also pretty explicitly notes the Desantis pressure. Are we to believe all the changes were merely coincidental? It doesn’t even make sense

  11. - WhyBecasueUnkown - Wednesday, Feb 1, 23 @ 3:49 pm:

    What are the odds that DeSantis knew of these changes and used that knowledge to his political advantage?

    It would not be unusual for someone in his administration or close to it, to have had discussions with the College Board and know this information.

  12. - Roadrager - Wednesday, Feb 1, 23 @ 3:58 pm:

    ==Who really cares what DeSantos thinks? He’s an elitist Ivy League grad himself.==

    Because all these neat little tricks he’s pulling in Florida are being done specifically to announce “Look what I could do to the entire country.”

  13. - G'Kar - Wednesday, Feb 1, 23 @ 4:26 pm:

    I suspect Desantis will find a way to say that the revisions don’t go far enough and still try to ban the course in Florida.

  14. - Google Is Your Friend - Wednesday, Feb 1, 23 @ 4:28 pm:

    - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Feb 1, 23 @ 2:56 pm:

    In fact, I did email them at the address listed in the link.

  15. - Amalia - Wednesday, Feb 1, 23 @ 4:37 pm:

    ah another skirmish in the war between historians and the NYTimes.

    for historians, you could say their jaws were out of whack because they are jealous of the 1619 project of the Times, a project not done by historians. In reality they have some legitimate concerns about that work, including calling it 1619 is a misrepresentation of slavery in the Americas. Very well known historians had legitimate criticisms of the project but were called racists. One Black female historian at that University in Evanston explained to the NYTimes that calling the reason for the American Revolution slavery was wrong, a fundamental claim of the project. and that she wished for change at the NYTimes with this before they published because it would give much credence to actual race haters. the NYT crashed on, retracted later.

    So, historians, who document, are fighting back.

  16. - Wensicia - Wednesday, Feb 1, 23 @ 4:59 pm:

    It looks like the NYT declared DeSantis the political winner of this debacle.
    They’re right.

  17. - Cold of Winter - Wednesday, Feb 1, 23 @ 6:22 pm:

    Google friend. Can you provide some time-date stamped proof of your email?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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