UNITED STATES NEWS

AP African American Studies course won’t count toward graduation credit in Arkansas

Aug 14, 2023, 4:17 PM

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas education officials on Monday said an Advanced Placement course on African American studies won’t count toward a student’s graduation credit, prompting criticism from Black lawmakers who said the move sends the wrong message.

The Arkansas Department of Education didn’t bar schools from offering the course, as Florida did earlier this year when it told the College Board it violated state law. The department said the class, which is offered at a handful of schools in Arkansas, could still count toward students’ grade point averages.

But the Education Department said the class couldn’t be part of the state’s advanced placement course offerings since it’s still a pilot program and hasn’t been vetted by the state yet. The department cited a state law enacted this year that places restrictions on how race is taught in school but did not say the course violates those prohibitions.

“The department encourages the teaching of all American history and supports rigorous courses not based on opinions or indoctrination,” Department spokeswoman Kimberly Mundell said in a statement.

The College Board revamped its course following Florida’s decision, but faced criticism that it was bowing to political pressure. Arkansas education officials cited the ongoing revisions.

“Without clarity, we cannot approve a pilot that may unintentionally put a teacher at risk of violating Arkansas law,” Mundell said. When asked whether there’s anything in the course that currently raises that concern, Education Secretary Jacob Oliva said that would have to be part of the review process of the final version.

The College Board website describes the course as interdisciplinary, touching on literature, arts, humanities, political science, geography and science. The pilot program debuted last school year at 60 schools across the country, and was set to expand to more this year.

Six schools were slated to offer the course in Arkansas this year, according to the College Board. They include Little Rock Central High School, known for the 1957 desegregation crisis.

The College Board on Monday said it rejected the notion its course was indoctrination.

“On this first day of school, we share in their surprise, confusion, and disappointment at this new guidance that the course won’t count toward graduation credits or weighted the same as other AP courses offered in the state,” the College Board said in a statement. “Throughout the first pilot year, we heard countless stories from the classroom about how this course opened minds, changed lives, and provided a much richer understanding of the country.”

The Arkansas Legislative Black Caucus said the move tells students that “their African American peers are not as important and not as valued.”

“This type of decision has far-reaching implications on the educational and professional success of all Arkansas youth, and we must not allow this type of inequality to persist,” Democratic Rep. Jay Richardson, the caucus’ chairman, said in a statement.

The department informed districts offering the course that it was not one of the state’s approved courses on Friday, days before classes began on Monday. The department said it been coded as a state course in error.

The move means that students who take the course won’t have the cost of the AP exam for it covered by the state like other AP courses. This year is the first an AP exam is offered for the African American studies course.

It’s unclear what the state’s decision will mean for the schools offering the program. The Little Rock School District said it will decide within the next two days its next steps. The district said Superintendent Jermall Wright “has been in direct communication with officials from the ADE to explore options that will allow our students to fully benefit from this course despite ADE’s decision.”

The Arkansas Education Department said the state has a course in African American History that will county toward high school credit, though it’s not an Advanced Placement course. The department said it’s working with districts who want to offer an honors version of that course.

United States News

Associated Press

Philadelphia police officer shot by fleeing suspect is in critical condition

A Philadelphia police officer was shot in the neck and was in critical condition Saturday night, officials said. The 31-year-old officer was in critical condition and undergoing surgery at Temple University Hospital, Police Commissioner Kevin Bethel said during a news conference outside the hospital. The officer, a veteran of more than six years on the […]

7 hours ago

Associated Press

A fourth victim has died a day after a shooting at an Arkansas grocery store, police say

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Police say a fourth victim has died a day after a shooting at an Arkansas grocery store. The person died Saturday evening, Arkansas state police said in a statement. A total of 14 people were wounded in Friday’s shooting, according to police: “11 civilians, two law enforcement officers and the […]

8 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, Saturda...

Associated Press

Trump endorses Ten Commandments in schools, implores evangelical Christians to vote in November

Trump endorsed displaying the Ten Commandments in schools while speaking to a group of politically influential evangelical Christians.

9 hours ago

Associated Press

2 people were taken to a hospital after lightning struck a tree near a PGA Tour event in Connecticut

CROMWELL, Conn. (AP) — Two people were taken to the hospital Saturday after lightning struck a tree near a home along a golf course that is hosting the PGA Tour’s Travelers Championship. The home is just north of the fifth green at TPC River Highlands, which is hosting the tournament one week after the U.S. […]

10 hours ago

Associated Press

Jury awards more than $13 million to ultramarathon athlete injured in fall on a Seattle sidewalk

SEATTLE (AP) — A jury awarded $13.1 million to an ultramarathon athlete who was severely injured when she fell on a Seattle sidewalk in 2021. The award by a King County jury found that the city of Seattle and the owners of an apartment building are responsible for the amount, the Seattle Times reported. Lesley […]

11 hours ago

Associated Press

Rains, cooler weather help firefighters gain ground on large wildfires in southern New Mexico

RUIDOSO, N.M. (AP) — Recent rains and cooler weather are helping more than 1,000 firefighters gain ground on two wildfires in southern New Mexico on Saturday that have killed two people, destroyed hundreds of homes and forced thousands to flee. Fire crews took advantage of temperatures in the 70s, scattered showers and light winds to […]

16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

AP African American Studies course won’t count toward graduation credit in Arkansas