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The College Board will change its AP African American Studies course

Some experts are cautious. UCLA legal scholar Cheryl Harris, a leading thinker in the field of critical race theory, helped organize the May 3 protest. In an interview Monday, she said she wanted the College Board to understand that it could not appease a political movement that, in her words, was seeking to “censor and suppress” ideas.

An analysis last year by education publication Chalkbeat found that 36 states had begun restricting racial education.

Professor Harris argues that academics whose ideas are removed from Advanced Placement courses should be included in the course revision process to re-establish trust within the discipline and “bring a degree of transparency” to the development process.

She cites Kimberlé Crenshaw, the originator of the concept of intersectionality, the way overlapping aspects of identity such as race, class, gender and gender shape an individual’s experience of the world in complex ways.

The College Board has high hopes for the course, which was introduced in February at a gala reception at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, part of the Smithsonian. Interest in the African American studies program is widespread across the country, the board said in a recent statement, with 800 schools and 16,000 students expected to take the pilot program next school year, up from 60 schools this year.

Matthew Goutal, a professor of African and American studies at Brown University, criticized the course for “lacking the intellectual weight and moral urgency students need.” Responding to news that the College Board plans to revise the curriculum again, he said, “They probably realize now that they can no longer beg Ron DeSantis for mercy.”

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