Florida State Board of Education Manny Diaz Jr. said teaching Advanced Placement Psychology was not about teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity, despite previously calling for the topic to be removed from the syllabus. It said it did not violate any state bans.
In response to Diaz’s new guidance this week, the College Board, which creates the AP Course, said in a statement: “This clear guidance gives Florida educators, parents and students the confidence they need.” However, not all school districts agree.
Both Clay and Duvall said Thursday that Diaz’s new instruction will not change their decision to transfer AP psychology students to credit classes at other universities, including Cambridge psychology courses.
The decision followed a week of conflicting and vague statements from states that forced school districts to make the difficult decision to cancel popular classes at the last minute or risk them not earning proper credit. This is what I received. Teachers also fear that teaching AP psychology could lead to disciplinary action for violating state law. (See the timeline below to understand how the situation developed.)
At least eight Florida school districts, including Clay and Duval counties, announced this week that they are phasing out AP psychology. The college board told school districts last week that courses that exclude gender identity and sexual orientation from the curriculum “should not be considered for college credit” and would not be offered “until the state of Florida overturns the decision.” I informed you that you shouldn’t.
It remains unclear whether Florida has actually lifted its content ban, as no laws or regulations changed when the state authorized a unit on gender and sexual orientation in the AP Psychology syllabus this week. is.
How the District Got Here: A Timeline
The state set the stage for a clash with previous laws, but the turmoil escalated just days before the start of the new school year.
March 17, 2022: Governor Ron DeSantis signs the Parents’ Rights in Education Act.
of controversial law “Classroom instruction about sexual orientation or gender identity by school officials or third parties shall not be conducted in kindergarten through third grade or in a manner inappropriate for the age or development of the student,” it said. It is
April 19, 2023: The Florida Board of Education passed Rule 6A-10.081.
of new rule Extending Florida’s parental rights in education law, educators should “not be permitted to exercise sexual orientation or gender identity, except where expressly required by state academic standards or as part of reproductive health.” Students in grades 4 through 12 shall not be intentionally instructed in a classroom course or health lesson where the student’s parent does not have the student attend. ”
It also stipulates that anyone who violates this rule may have their teaching license suspended or revoked.
May 17, 2023: DeSantis signs HB 1069.
of new law Extends the ban on instruction regarding sexual orientation and gender identity through grade 8, stating that “when such instruction occurs in grades 9 through 12, such instruction must be age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate to the student in accordance with state standards.” It must be suitable” was added. ”
May 19, 2023: Ministry of Education asks college course providers to change curriculum.
Florida Department of Education send a letter We referred to both the rules passed in April and the law passed in May and submitted them to institutions that offer university credit courses, including College Board, AICE/Cambridge and International Baccalaureate (IB).
Jacksonville today Letter from University Regents and All Courses on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Teaching in Florida Complies with New Florida Ban and Another of Florida’s So-called Stop WOKE Bans I have obtained a “Coordination Assurance” document proving that. Laws restricting guidance on race and racism.
“I urge you to immediately and thoroughly review all courses on the College Board … Some courses contain content or topics that are prohibited by State Board of Education rules and Florida law. It is possible,” the letter said.
June 2023: University Board refuses to comply.
university committee send a letter “We have no intention of altering our courses to accommodate restrictions on teaching critical subject matter at the college level,” he told Florida officials. To do so would be to break a basic promise of AP. Universities do not widely accept the course for credit, and the course does not prepare students for a career in the field. ”
The American Psychological Association has sent a letter praising the college board’s decision and reprimanding Cambridge/AICE and IB for agreeing to review the curriculum.
August 3, 2023: University board recommends school districts cancel courses unless Florida lifts ban.
In a phone call with the Florida Association of Superintendents, state education leaders told schools that they can only offer AP psychology if they omit content on sexual orientation and gender identity, the Florida Board of Education reported. Ta. Washington Post report.
university committee issue a letter “An AP psychology course taught in Florida violates Florida law or college requirements,” it said, recommending the school district cancel the course unless the state of Florida rescinds its ban on the content. The College Board also states that it “affirms that gender and sexual orientation are essential and long-standing foundational themes in psychological research.”
August 4, 2023: Diaz directs school districts to continue offering courses.
In a letter to the superintendent, Diaz said, “The department believes that AP psychology as a whole can be taught in an age- and developmentally-appropriate way, and this course will continue to be listed in our course catalogue.” I will.” Diaz’s letter doesn’t specify exactly how teachers should teach the course in accordance with Florida regulations.
The Florida Education Association, the state’s largest teachers’ union, send a letter On August 5, Diaz told Diaz, “If a local school district tries to reprimand a teacher for teaching AP psychology across the board, that teacher will be the student, the student’s parent, the community at large, And we will have the support of tens of thousands of people.” An educator who is part of a union.
August 8, 2023: School district retires AP Psychology.
School districts across the state, including Clay and Duval counties, are beginning to phase out AP psychology. Duvall Schools said, “If students were to fully teach the AP psychology required to take the exam, teachers and school leaders could be legally prosecuted in areas of uncertainty. It may be placed in Clay County schools say they are discontinuing the course to ensure that students “are awarded appropriate credit for the courses they enroll in throughout their studies.”
Both Clay and Duval transfer students to credit-level courses at other universities, such as Clay and Duval’s AICE/Cambridge Psychology courses and Duval’s AP seminars. Other Northeast Florida school districts will continue to offer college board classes.
At the same time, the American Education Council, the body that accredits examinations for college credit, sent a letter to Cambridge “expressing regret over Cambridge’s signing of the Florida Accreditation.” is a priori academic censorship. But the letter added that the University of Cambridge had provided materials showing that neither the exam nor the syllabus had been changed in accordance with Florida law.
ace says Jacksonville today The current college credit recommendations for the Cambridge Psychology Exam are valid until September 30, 2024, which has already expired, and will be reviewed for renewal next year.
August 9, 2023: Diaz says classes are legal.
Diaz sent another letter to superintendents on Wednesday, saying he wanted to “make sure there is no room for misunderstanding.” He notes that certain units of AP psychology dealing with sexual orientation and gender identity are “taught under Florida law.” He hasn’t said how yet.
No changes have been made to Florida’s rules or laws. Some school districts have defended her decision to offer AP psychology, including schools in Leon County. Superintendent Rocky Han said in his statement: …I told my staff to respect and obey the law, but not to do more than necessary for fear of the law. ”
In response to the new guidelines, Clay County Schools said: “This will not change our decision as a school district. Luckily for Clay County, our high school already has his AICE, IB, and dual enrollment options for this course.” is also telling. Jacksonville today I called to let you know that AP Psychology is not back on the schedule for students. The district emphasized other college-level psychology offerings.
Top photo: Manny Diaz Jr. is a Florida State Board of Education Commissioner. | Will Brown Jacksonville today