Advanced Placement Course Ban Serves to Advance DeSantis’ Career

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Florida Department of Education’s decision to block AP African American Studies could bolster his Presidential prospects.


Photo Zoe Thaxton

A canva graphic depicting an X-mark over a stack of history books.

Vikram Sambasivan, News & Features Editor

Advanced Placement (AP) courses give students an opportunity to learn at a level higher than a typical high school course. Every few years, new AP courses are released by College Board. However, this year, for the first time, students in Florida might be denied an opportunity to learn about African American history and culture.

Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) have blocked the inclusion of AP African American Studies in Florida education on grounds that certain sections of the course cloaked a political agenda and violated Florida’s Individual Freedom Act (IFA).

“Education is about the pursuit of truth, not the imposition of ideology or the advancement of a political agenda,” DeSantis tweeted on Jan. 23.

Education, history in particular, is supposed to be an unbiased eye on the past. Claiming that Black Lives Matter, Queer Studies and Reparations are part of a political agenda is akin to denying a part of history and culture and a refusal to acknowledge realities of the world.

This move by DeSantis and the FDOE could set a precedent for broader censorship of educational materials, especially concerning those of Black history and culture, however, as long as businesses benefit from serving the African American demographic such moves will remain gimmicks. Only shortsighted businesses will back a politician who alienates a 40 million-strong consumer base.

Many will say this is an attack on Black history and culture, an attempt to erase it from history and the minds of future generations. What they do not realize is that the Streisand effect came into play revealing DeSantis’s political agenda. While DeSantis’s initiative may not have a lasting effect on Black history education, its shock value can help further his own political ambitions.

DeSantis raised about $200 million for his 2022 campaign, the highest in gubernatorial history. According to NPR, DeSantis has at least $90 million and, as of Dec. 14, 2022, he is still fundraising. DeSantis made headlines again with this move. By blocking the AP course, he capitalized on the controversial nature of the topic and perhaps invigorated his voter base. However, the most revealing piece of information is DeSantis’ electability.

“He knows how to really excite Republican voters while also drawing independents and moderate Democrats into the party,” Republican Media Consultant Giancarlo Sopo said in an interview with NPR.

Along with the release of DeSantis’s autobiography and growing support for his presidential campaign, this could signal a potential upcoming presidential run. The AP African American Studies ban, for this reason, could be a symbolic move for DeSantis to “excite Republican voters” and attempt to unite the GOP under his banner.

While being an incredibly controversial and unprecedented decision by the FDOE and DeSantis himself, the actual effects of this block will serve to brighten the political career of DeSantis more than fade the scrolls of Black history.