Is AP African History an attempt to indoctrinate students? 


Kiera Decesare, Online/News Editor

   In modern-day society, the idea that any topics concerning race should be taught is a highly debated topic. AP African History seeks to alleviate some of this tension.  

   Earlier this year, Governor Ron DeSantis blocked the course from being taught in Florida, claiming that it “lacks educational value and is contrary to Florida law.” Which law the course broke was not stated, but a common misconception that has been spread is that the course teaches controversial topics like Critical Race Theory, the Black Lives Matter movement, and sexual identity. However, these claims are not backed up. According to both the Associated Press and Time Magazine, Critical Race Theory is not taught at all, and the sexual identity and Black Lives Matter movement topics are considered supplemental information, meaning these topics won’t appear on the exam. 

   When asked why he banned the class, DeSantis said, “In the state of Florida, our education standards not only don’t prevent, but they require teaching Black history, all the important things. That’s part of our core curriculum. We want education and not indoctrination.” Which is confusing to hear as a student at a Florida public school, as I can count on my hand the number of lessons I’ve had about black history. I also fail to see how the teaching of the history of Africans is any different than the teaching of U.S. history. If teaching African history is indoctrination, then why isn’t teaching European history indoctrination? They both cover the history of the peoples living on a specific continent. The fear and controversy over the teaching of African history is rooted in racism, misinformation, and prejudice. 

   To outright ban the AP African History course would be an extremely ignorant move. Banning the course is trying to erase the history of people who helped our society get to the point it is at today. As someone who is currently taking AP U.S. History and has taken World History in the past, African History just isn’t in the curriculum. This is not the fault of any teachers; African History just isn’t in the curriculum dictated by College Board. AP African History aims to bridge this gap. 

   Another thing many people gloss over is the fact that African History is not a required class. So, if a parent is morally opposed to having their kid take the class, the kid doesn’t have to take it. There is no graduation requirement for this class, so it’s 100% optional. However, there are many students out there that are interested in this class, and they should have the opportunity to take it. According to College Board, when AP students asked what AP classes they would like to see, one of the most common answers was AP African History. Additionally, College Board CEO, Trevor Packer, hopes that AP African History can be used to make AP classes more accessible to nonwhite students. This is backed by the fact that black students are more likely than their white and Asian counterparts to attend a school that has no AP classes. 

     College Board and AP African history aren’t trying to indoctrinate children; they’re trying to inform students with some of the knowledge that other history classes don’t provide.