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Florida Backs Down on Censoring AP Psychology Over Sexuality Topics

Florida Backs Down on Censoring AP Psychology Over Sexuality Topics

<p>Florida Backs Down on Censoring AP Psychology Over Sexuality Topics</p>

College Board threatened to not allow censored courses to be designated "AP."

The Florida Department of Education said over the weekend that it will allow the full curriculum for an Advanced Placement Psychology Class to be taught to high school students. The decision came a day after the College Board said the state could not censor information about sexuality and gender and still offer the course

The Florida Board of Education last week said those parts of the curriculum violated the state’s prohibition on teaching about gender identity and sexual orientation through high school, better known as the “don’t say gay” law. While the controversial law passed last year with a full ban on those topics standing only through third grade, the state board, appointed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, extended the restrictions through high school in February.

That raised immediate questions about courses like AP Psychology, in which 28,000 Florida students were enrolled this year, according to the College Board. The state board suggested this week the class could be taught but with certain portions of the curriculum running crossways from the law omitted.

In response to last week's decision, the College Board said in a statement Friday, "We are sad to have learned that today the Florida Department of Education has effectively banned Ap Psychology in the state by instructing Florida superintendents that teaching foundational content on sexual orientation and gender identity is illegal under state law. The state has said districts are free to teach AP Psychology only if it excludes any mention of these essential topics."

It added, "Any course that censors required course content cannot be labeled "AP" or "Advanced Placement," and the "AP Psychology" designation cannot be utilized on student transcripts."

But Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz backtracked from that direction immediately after the College Board threatened to disallow any offering of the edited course.

“In fact, the Department believes that AP Psychology can be taught in its entirety in a manner that is age and developmentally appropriate and the course remains listed in our course catalog,” Diaz wrote.

The brief potential for nixing the course loomed as many Florida school districts expect to begin the new school year this week. The issue also raised an issue DeSantis has to address as he runs for President.

Diaz characterized the matter as a misunderstanding amplified by the College Board’s pushback and told superintendents he was sending clarifying directing “out of an abundance of caution” after the College Board had slammed the decision to restrict some content. He also noted other advanced offered such as International Baccalaureate were offering their own psychology courses.

The College Board has not further commented on Diaz’s most recent direction to schools.

Diaz’s letter came after the Florida Education Association, the state’s top teacher’s union, publicly urged Diaz to allow teachers to offer the full course.

“We call on you to clearly and unambiguously state that nothing in AP Psychology course violated Florida statutes of Florida State Board of Education rule,” read a letter from FEA President Andrew Spar.

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