Carolina Maciel | The Poly Post

CPP community reacts to changes made in the AP African American Studies curriculum

By Carolina Maciel and Christian Contreras, Feb. 14, 2023

On Feb. 1, the College Board stripped down much of the Advanced Placement curriculum for African American Studies.  

The College Board’s decision made required contemporary topics like exploring the origins of “Black Lives Matter” optional for a research project and removed material on Black queer studies, intersectionality, the reparations movement, and Black scholars associated with critical race theory. CPP faculty wonder if this was the right move.   

“I don’t think they made the right decision,” said African American Literature, Culture, and History Assistant Professor Armando Collins. “Their decision doesn’t reflect the academic rigor or diversity of contemporary higher education. By default, it is not adequately preparing AP students for college or citizenship in contemporary America.”  

The board came to its final decision after sending the curriculum to public schools in 60 different cities to test the success of it. After reviewing feedback from each of the school administrators, the course was then finalized. 

The head of the College Board David Coleman said that all of the changes were made for benefiting education and not to conform to political pressure. Claiming that every change made in cutting the curriculum was from the response they got from each of the professors and the longstanding AP principles. 

Carolina Maciel | The Poly Post

“It will impact AP students and create a critical information gap while giving students the false impression that types of domains of knowledge are and should be privileged over other ones,” said Collins. 

Shaela Young, a Black student at CPP and the public relations E-Board member of the Black Student Union, shared her thoughts on the course and the decisions made by the College Board.  

“I’m excited to know there’s an African American Studies class,” said Young. “I don’t necessarily see anything wrong with what they’re doing. I think that they’re trying to teach the students the core stuff that happened for Black people during these different time periods.”  

Young added, “During that time, their priority was, ‘as Black people, we all come together under the umbrella of being Black. We want to fight for our rights. We want to be able to live in a country and have the same rights as everyone around us,’ so students are going to have to learn about those types of things because that’s what Black people were experiencing during that time.”  

Young also shared how she felt about this decision being characterized as the College Board caving to political pressure.  

“As far as the comment about political pressure, a lot of things are operated and moved, especially even in higher education, because of political pressure. So that’s life,” said Young.  Personally, as a Black student, I would have loved to have AP African American Studies when I was in high school.” 

Black student and criminology student Azariah Washington shared her thoughts on some of the changes made by the College Board. 

“I’m just a little confused on why they would do that, I mean especially during this time regarding the incident with Tyre Nichols that just happened,” said Washington, about Black Lives Matter content removed from the required curriculum. “You know, schools are always talking about being inclusive and wanting to add more to the curriculum to inform students and anyone on how to stand up for each other, so I don’t know how this is going to help anybody in any situation.”  

She also shared what she thought about the class title, and what it hints at in the curriculum. 

 “I think that’s interesting though,” said Washington. “If it includes the word ‘Studies,’ I would think that it covers everything, not just Black history.” 

Feature image by Carolina Maciel

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