Pritzker Faces DeSantis and College Board to Keep Black LGBTQ+ History in AP Course

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker is going to fight with the National College Board over what he calls the “political grandeur” of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The Chicago Democrat warns the nonprofit organization that oversees the Advanced Placement program that Illinois will reject a revised African American Studies course if it does not include “a factual explanation of history, including the role played by queer black Americans.”

Pritzker sent a strong letter to the board about his decision to revise the Advanced Placement course in African American Studies after the Florida governor, and likely the Republican Party’s presidential nominee, blocked Florida high schools from offering the course because it included segments on “queer theory”. and “abolish prisons”, among other issues.

It’s unclear how the course will be changed or if the revisions stem from Florida’s pushback, but the College Board said the new framework will be published on February 1.

Pritzker opposed any changes “to accommodate Florida’s racist and homophobic laws.”

“In Illinois, we reject any curriculum changes designed to appease extremists like the Florida governor and his allies,” Pritzker wrote in the letter obtained by the Sun-Times.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (left) in November;  Governor JB Pritzker (right) last week.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (left) in November; Governor JB Pritzker (right) last week.

John Locher; Markus Schreiber-AP Archive

Pritzker, seen as a potential Democratic candidate for the White House should President Biden not seek re-election, opposed the Florida Republican limiting the teaching of black history and suggested to the board that high schools in Illinois would reject any “reduced” AP class that ignores the nation. “true, if sometimes unpleasant, history”.

Pritzker wrote that Illinois will closely scrutinize any revision to make sure it includes “all the necessary history, beginning with the foundation of this nation built on slavery, the Civil War where this nation relied on that history, and the decades of rebuilding and efforts of black Americans to continue their fight for equality and equity to this day.”

The governor’s office told the Sun-Times it would reject the curriculum if it did not include the “factual” framework detailed in Pritzker’s letter.

Florida Department of Education officials said they expect content on topics including critical race theory, black queer studies and intersectionality to be removed.

At a press conference in Jacksonville, Florida, on Monday, DeSantis called the curriculum “a political agenda.”

“That’s the wrong side of the line by Florida standards,” DeSantis said. “We believe in teaching kids facts and how to think, but we don’t think an agenda should be forced on them when you try to use black history to shoehorn queer theory, clearly you’re trying to use that for political purposes. ”

The war over the curriculum began Jan. 12 when the Florida Department of Education sent a letter to the College Board saying the course is “inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacking in educational value.”

“Moving forward, if the College Board is willing to come back to the table with legally and historically accurate content, the FDOE will always be willing to reopen the discussion,” the letter said.

On Wednesday, department spokesman Alex Lanfranconi said they are heartened to see the board “express a willingness to amend” the course.

“AP courses are standardized across the country, and as a result of Florida’s strong stance against identity politics and indoctrination, students across the country will have access to a historically accurate and unbiased course,” Lanfranconi said in a statement. statement sent by email.

“As Governor DeSantis said, African American history is American history, and we will not allow any organization to use an academic course as a gateway for indoctrination and a political agenda. We look forward to reviewing the College Board’s changes and look forward to the removal of content about critical race theory, black queer studies, intersectionality, and other topics that violate our laws.”

Florida in 2021 passed a law prohibiting the teaching of critical race theory. And last year, DeSantis signed the “Stop WOKE” Act, which places restrictions on how schools and businesses can talk about race.

Pritzker has become a frequent critic of DeSantis as rumors of the 2024 presidential election mount. Last year, at a Florida Democratic Party conference, Pritzker compared DeSantis to former President Donald Trump, saying that he “really It’s just Donald Trump with a mask on.”

Then, President Donald Trump (right) listens as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (left) speaks during an event at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, DC, in 2020.

Then, President Donald Trump (right) listens as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (left) speaks during an event at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, DC, in 2020.

Stefani Reynolds/Pool/ABACAPRESS.COM

“He’s trying to pass off his covert racism, homophobia and misogyny as a more reasonable form of Trump’s Republicanism,” Pritzker said in his speech that day.

Pritzker last year also condemned DeSantis’ “Parental Rights in Education” bill, which many refer to as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which bans classroom discussion or guidance instruction. and sexual identity from kindergarten through third grade or higher. in “a manner that is not age or developmentally appropriate.”

“We cannot stand idly by while Republican governors launch relentless attacks on the LGBTQ+ community,” Pritzker said in a tweet after the bill was signed into law. “Everyone deserves a state where they can be authentic. As long as you are Governor, the State of Illinois will see you, support you, and welcome you with open arms.”