WSJ Editorial Board: Private Emails Show College Board's Intellectual Dishonesty

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tags: Florida, African American history, Advanced Placement, Ron DeSantis, College Board

Gov. Ron DeSantis is credited with forcing a rewrite of a new high-school AP class in African-American Studies, after Florida balked at such lesson topics as “Black Queer Studies.” Denying pressure, the College Board said the revisions were pedagogical: “This course has been shaped only by the input of experts and long-standing AP principles and practices.”

Yet its own faculty advisers privately castigated this as dishonest spin, according to emails we obtained via open-records laws. “I have patiently and quietly watched the ubiquitous interviews and media assertions that AP would not make changes at the behest of any group beyond professors, teachers, and students,” wrote Nishani Frazier, a University of Kansas professor who sits on the AP course’s development committee. “If this is so, which student, professor, or teacher suggested adding black conservatives to the course over Combahee River Collective?”

Ms. Frazier continued: “We all know this is a blatant lie. In fact, the major changes which occurred came from my unit—and not once did AP speak with me about these changes. Instead, it rammed through revisions, pretended course transformation was business as usual, and then further added insult to injury by attempting to gaslight the public with faux innocence.” The course was “edited behind our backs,” she wrote. “What is unsaid is the failure of AP to recognize both its own institutional racism and how its own lies and capitulation precipitated the creation of a monster of its own making.”

Another professor on the curriculum committee, David Embrick of the University of Connecticut, apparently forwarded Ms. Frazier’s cri de coeur to a sociology professor at Trinity College. “Yikes...Nishani is right here,” Mr. Embrick said. The sociologist’s reaction: “Dude, College Board is f— over y’all.”

The College Board’s reply came from Trevor Packer, who has led the AP program since 2003. “While we stand by our statement that there has been no collaboration or exchange of ideas with Florida,” he said, “Nishani’s point below is right and true: edits made to the framework that were not adequately discussed with the Development Committee are a violation of our core processes for developing AP frameworks. We are deeply sorry for that breakdown.”

This seems to contradict the College Board’s claim that the course was shaped only by experts and established practices. Note Mr. Packer’s denial of “collaboration” with Florida. Was the College Board working on its own to make the class more palatable to red or purple states?

Facing faculty dissent, though, Mr. Packer promised to backtrack. “To rectify this matter,” he said, “we think we should provide the committee with great flexibility between now and the end of the second year of piloting: to change the framework we released on February 1 so that you are proud of it as an authentic representation of an introductory course in this discipline.”

The College Board hasn’t been straight about any of this. 

Read entire article at Wall Street Journal

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