DeSantis Defends Education: How Florida Outsmarted the College Board’s Sneaky Tactics

Recently, the College Board withdrew its Advanced Placement Psychology course from Florida schools. This decision was based on perceived conflicts with Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Act, often referred to by critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” law. The College Board places the blame squarely on Florida, claiming the state has effectively outlawed teaching foundational content on sexual orientation and gender identity. However, the Florida Department of Education counters this by pointing out that other advanced course providers, like the International Baccalaureate program, have had no issues offering similar courses.

The media narrative, unsurprisingly, leans towards the College Board’s perspective, painting them as the underdog trying to uphold course integrity against the so-called unreasonable demands of Florida’s leadership, particularly Governor Ron DeSantis. This portrayal is misleading. The College Board, far from being a David against Goliath, is more akin to a corporate giant attempting to strong-arm a conservative state government.

For years, the College Board has held significant sway over advanced curricula in schools nationwide. Their influence is so pervasive that few have dared to challenge their curriculum standards. However, Governor DeSantis and the Florida Department of Education previously stood up against the College Board’s AP African American Studies course, viewing it as a vehicle for a radical leftist agenda. They emerged victorious in that battle.

The College Board is retaliating by targeting the AP Psychology course. They argue that the course’s standards clash with Florida law, interpreting a letter from the Florida DOE as a virtual declaration of war. They believed they had the upper hand, thinking they could force Florida to amend its laws or deny students the chance to take AP Psychology.

However, a closer look at the AP Psychology curriculum reveals that its content on sex and gender does not inherently conflict with Florida’s laws. The contentious material is a minuscule part of the overall course. The College Board’s assertion that limiting the teaching of these two skills equates to undermining the entire course is a gross exaggeration.

While organizations like the American Psychological Association advocate for more content on gender and sexuality in AP Psychology, their stance is overly reductive. They imply that one can only grasp psychology by comprehensively understanding all genders and their associated behaviors. This perspective not only oversimplifies the vast field of psychology but also sidesteps the actual issue at hand.

The reality is that the College Board stands to lose significantly from this standoff. AP Psychology, while valuable, is often an elective course that students take to enhance their academic profiles. If the College Board opts out, students can easily switch to other AP electives or enroll in dual-credit psychology courses at local community colleges. This shift would result in a substantial financial loss for the College Board, given the thousands of students who typically register for the exam.

The Florida Department of Education has again found a middle ground between academic excellence and political activism. As the academic year unfolds, it will become evident that the College Board’s decision to challenge Florida on this issue was ill-advised.