As Ron DeSantis diminishes Florida and seeks the extremist vote in the 2024 GOP presidential primary, his path is to tear down public education from elementary to higher ed by demonizing students who veer from his inane definition of acceptability, cornering teachers by squeezing what they can teach and what books they can share.
And last week, to his shame, he banned, statewide, a new Advanced Placement course teaching African American history, using his pitiful “woke indoctrination” gibberish.
Meanwhile, in villages where teaching to reality, to discomfort, does not make us queasy, Oak Park and River Forest High School announced with enthusiasm that our public high school has been chosen to pilot the new College Board AP course on African American history.
“We’re thrilled,” said Amy Hill, OPRF’s History Division head. “We’re confident our students will have a rich, rigorous, and engaging experience in the course.”
OPRF has long had classes teaching African American and African history. But this will be the first AP course on the subject. Hill responded to worries that the College Board may be watering the course down by removing some primary sources, including Ta-Nehisi Coates and bell hooks. Of course, no amount of trimming this course would ever divert DeSantis from his obvious goal of ginning up a racist base. And Hill said OPRF teachers will have discretion over supplementary sources they may add to the curriculum.
The contrast here is so vivid but the truth is singular. American history is a mash up of virtue and hideousness, of hope and foundational fear and hate. That’s the history we need to teach our children and ourselves to put ourselves on a path forward.