Governor Ron DeSantis announced a statewide ban on the College Board’s new Advanced Placement course for high school students in African American Studies. Professor Kerry Haynie, a member of the College Board committee that developed the framework for the course, denounced DeSantis’s claims the content indoctrinates students or that political pressures have wielded any influence on the materials in the framework, which was published Feb. 1.
“We’ve been concerned to see the work of more than 300 college professors caricatured and misrepresented as a political pawn,” said Kerry Haynie, a professor of political science and African and African American Studies at Duke University, in an open letter published Feb. 1 against DeSantis’s statements.
“Despite the claims from various quarters, no state or district has yet seen these materials, let alone influenced our deliberations and decisions about what topics to include."
“I was astonished at the boldness of the lies and untruth, and the misleading aspects of the statement,” Haynie added in an interview. “I was in awe, but not completely shocked, as a political scientist who watches campaigns and candidates operate. I saw [DeSantis’s] statements as a political stunt in preparation for a potential run for presidency.”
Haynie also spoke to the significance of an Advanced Placement course on African American Studies finally being available to high school students:
“I don't think you can fully understand and appreciate the wide scope and breadth of American history without understanding historical context and cultural contributions that African Americans have made to American society. For years, we have had those things separated out. This course is adding to and enriching what we know about American history.”
Haynie says he doesn’t believe DeSantis’s efforts to ban the course will impact its adoption nationwide.
“By and large, leaders in higher education have been supportive, and that will speak volumes to the high schools considering adopting the course and the colleges and universities agreeing to give placement credit in African American studies to students who score a four or five on the AP exam.”
Duke is among the institutions that have already agreed to grant credit to students demonstrating proficiency on the end-of-course exam, he said.
Kerry Haynie is a professor of political science, African & African American studies and dean of the Social Sciences. Haynie studies race and ethnic politics, women of color in politics, state and Southern politics and comparative urban politics.