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Florida’s Most Recent Infringement on Education
In light of recent educational suppression, East Assistant principal Cameron Browne was, “Sadly, Not surprised” by Florida's recent attempts to shroud educational courses from their students. Most recently, a ban on AP African American history in Florida public schools. The words uttered by Mr. Browne seem to be spoken more often than usual. Florida's recent attempts at obscuring content from its residents have been the cause of national outcry among education leaders, Including Denver East.
In August of 2022, College Board, the non-profit organization that oversees Advanced Placement classes nationwide, announced the frameworks for a new A.P. African American Studies course. Following the consultation of professors from over 200 universities, the class was completed in December and has since been piloted in 60 different schools across the country with the plan to release the course for the 2024-25 school year. While East was initially primed to be a pilot school, the decision was ultimately made to forgo the course until the 24/25 school year, after minimal information was released surrounding the course.
On January 12, Florida’s Department of Education vowed to ban the class, claiming it, “inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value”(CNN). More recently, on February 14th Desantis enlightened the idea of removing all ties with the college board, including AP courses and the SAT. This comes as no surprise, following Ron Desantis’s signing of the Stop Woke act, in April, which severely limited schools' ability to teach or discuss sensitive topics such as race, gender, and critical race theory.
The actions of Florida's Department of Education sparked outrage around the country, including from Florida's very own Fentrice Driskell. The Democratic leader from Florida's House of Representatives stated, “He [Ron Desantis] wants to control what our kids can learn based on politics, and not sound policy. He repeatedly attacks the first amendment rights of Floridians with books being banned from libraries and classrooms and now throwing his weight against this AP African American History course”(Time.com). While Fentrice Driskell can express her displeasure to a national audience, many who coincide with her ideas do not have such a following.
Among those disheartened by Desantis’s actions is East’s Assistant principal, Cameron Browne. Mr. Browne finds the actions of Ron Desantis and Florida's educational board to be based on a “misguided idea” about the effect certain content may have on students, and in the, “best interest of a particular set of students.” Despite the harsh nature of the situation, Mr. Browne views it as a great learning opportunity for students, who he encourages to, “figure out how to be intentional in these moments and think about how can you be a social justice advocate in ways that are impactful”.
At the moment, it is still being determined how East, along with many other schools, will respond meaningfully. Any real action taken against the College Board could truly harm the education of students around the country, so finding an appropriate response will be critical. With no clear response to preserve and prevent attacks on our educational rights, the ability for change again falls to the students. Mr. Browne encourages students to constantly learn about the world around them, and advocate for the greater good.
“Being a constant learner, educating yourself, advocating, being critical,” stated Mr. Browne, “I think the true impact and change will not come from something immediate, it will be built over time and hopefully from a mass of people who speak and vote in elections because politics have an impact on a lot of spaces that you may not realize.”