Six schools in Arkansas are once again set to introduce AP African American Studies classes, despite recent state concerns and decisions. The courses, designed by the College Board, aim to explore various themes within African-American history and culture. While the schools initially faced uncertainty, they have resolved to offer this elective class, allowing students to engage with diverse perspectives and gain a deeper understanding of the African-American experience throughout history.
Arkansas Schools Embrace AP African American Studies
After facing doubts and a lack of high school credit for students taking the course, six schools in Arkansas are moving forward with offering AP African American Studies.
The decision was reached after state officials raised questions about whether the class might constitute “indoctrination.”
These schools had initially been part of the College Board’s pilot testing program for the second year of AP African American Studies.
Course Content and Importance
AP African American Studies is a college-level course that covers a range of topics, including early African empires, the transatlantic slave trade, reconstruction, and themes of Black power and pride.
This comprehensive exploration of African-American history aims to provide students with a more nuanced understanding of the contributions, complexities, and narratives that have shaped this community’s experiences over time.
District Leaders’ Views
District leaders express their belief that AP African American Studies will significantly contribute to their curricula.
Jeremy Owoh, superintendent of the Jacksonville North Pulaski School District, emphasizes that this course will enrich students’ understanding of society’s rich diversity.
Jacksonville High, the district’s sole high school, will offer the course as an elective, allowing students to earn elective credit.
Furthermore, students will have the opportunity to take the AP exam at the end of the year, potentially earning college credit based on their performance.
Wider Acceptance and Challenges
Around 200 colleges have already indicated their willingness to offer college credit for AP African American Studies based on students’ exam scores.
However, while Arkansas traditionally covered the costs of AP exams, it will not cover the expenses associated with the AP African American Studies test.
Despite this challenge, about 35 Jacksonville High students have enrolled in the course.
In addition to Jacksonville High, other schools, like Central High School in the Little Rock School District, will also provide the AP African American Studies course as planned.
The course’s content aligns with Central High School’s historical significance, being among the first schools in the nation to integrate in 1957.
Furthermore, schools within the North Little Rock School District are also set to offer the course as an elective, though the question of covering AP exam costs is still under consideration.
While Arkansas schools move ahead with offering AP African American Studies, the state’s Department of Education maintains its cautious stance.
The state emphasizes its commitment to rigorous, fact-based education and raises concerns about the potential inclusion of Critical Race Theory (CRT) or indoctrination.
The department believes that American history should be taught without introducing opinions or ideologies.
In conclusion, the decision by six schools in Arkansas to proceed with offering AP African American Studies reflects their dedication to providing students with a well-rounded education.
Despite initial concerns and the absence of high school credit, these schools recognize the value of exploring the complex history and culture of African Americans in the United States.
To some this step demonstrates an ongoing commitment to diversity, inclusivity, and a broader understanding of the nation’s history, but to others still worry it may be an attempt at training teachers to indoctrinate students.
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