Former Education Secretary blames DeSantis’ ‘White nationalist agenda’ after CRT removed from AP course
President Barack Obama’s Education Secretary accused Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis of holding a “White nationalist agenda” after an AP African American Studies course was revised due to criticism over lessons involving elements of Critical Race Theory.
The state of Florida rejected the course earlier this month for violating the governor’s “Stop W.O.K.E. Act.” DeSantis had criticized the course for holding an “agenda” because of lessons on “queer theory,” intersectionality, and abolishing prisons.
On Wednesday, the college board unveiled the new framework which made some of the more controversial lessons optional topics for a research project and no longer required them for the exam.
On CNN, former Education Secretary Arne Duncan reacted to the changes by blaming DeSantis. He accused the Republican of being a bully with a racist agenda.
“Unfortunately, Governor DeSantis has been very, very clear he has what appears to be a White nationalist agenda…and he always attacks the most vulnerable, whether it’s the African American history, whether it’s the LGBTQ community, whether it’s immigrants, he always attacks the most vulnerable,” he griped to host Bianna Golodryga.
He added, “[I] just hope voters in Florida and voters across the country don’t think that is what our country needs, more bullying, more attacking on those that need our help and need our support.”
But Duncan couldn’t point to specifics when asked what changes he found upsetting.
“I haven’t seen the details,” he admitted.
Still, Duncan suggested DeSantis had pressured the College Board to censor historical content from the class.
“I just think that it is so important that young people have access to America’s full history, that we don’t hide from the tough parts and we celebrate the good parts,” he urged, arguing history shouldn’t be “whitewashed.”
Despite these objections, teaching of African American history, including “slavery, reconstruction and the civil rights movement” remains the same in the course according to a New York Times report.
In his CNN appearance, the former Obama official also echoed claims made by some media figures that DeSantis was “banning books” from the classroom.
This allegation arose from a recently passed education bill backed by the Governor’s office which prohibits pornography in school classrooms and libraries.
“You see him removing books from classrooms, you see these very chilling photos of school libraries, classroom libraries and empty shelves. Something very insidious is happening in Florida, and it is extraordinarily disturbing,” Duncan lamented.
The AP course is a pilot program that is currently being tested in 60 schools nationwide and expected to be offered in all U.S. schools for the 2024-2025 school year, according to the College Board site.
David Coleman, head of the College Board, told multiple media outlets that the decision wasn’t based on pressure from politicians.
The office for Governor DeSantis told Fox News Digital the revised course was now under review.
“The Florida Department of Education is currently reviewing the newly released AP African American Studies framework for corrections and compliance with Florida law,” the statement read.