College Board won’t alter AP courses for Florida’s law banning lessons on gender, sexual orientation

ORLANDO, Fla. — The College Board announced Thursday that it won’t modify its Advanced Placement courses to accommodate new Florida laws that restrict classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity.

“[College Board] will not modify our courses to accommodate restrictions on teaching essential, college-level topics,” the board said in a statement. “Doing so would break the fundamental promise of AP: colleges wouldn’t broadly accept that course for credit and that course wouldn’t prepare students for careers in the discipline.”


Officials said Florida school district leaders asked the College Board how to navigate these laws relative to its AP Psychology course. In particular, they said, how the course covers gender and sexual orientation, which is banned in Florida public school classrooms due to the Parental Rights in Education law.

“That learning objective must remain a required topic, just as it has been in Florida for many years,” the College Board said in a statement. “As with all AP courses, required topics must be included for a course to be designated as AP.”

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The College Board said the American Psychological Association has made clear that the topics of gender and sexual orientation are foundational for any college-level course in psychology.

College Board said it will not modify any of its 40 courses in response to regulations that would “censor college-level standards for credit, placement, and career readiness.”

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In February, Gov. Ron DeSantis said he may withdraw state support for AP programs a month after he rejected plans for a new AP African American studies course.

The Florida Department of Education rejected an AP African American studies course announced in January. DeSantis said the course, which included Black feminism and queer studies, was trying to push a “political agenda.”

Read: Gov. Ron DeSantis threatens to end AP programs in Florida schools

The College Board oversees AP classes in the United States and administers the SAT test that many colleges and universities use in the admission process. AP allows students to qualify for college credit after passing an exam.

More than 1.2 million high school students in the U.S. took an Advanced Placement course in 2019. Florida has one of the highest AP participation rates in the U.S.

DeSantis suggested that other programs could take the place of AP courses in the state.

Read: College Board releases statement about Florida’s rejection of AP African American Studies course

“AP opposes both censorship and indoctrination, and is animated by a deep respect for the intellectual freedom of teachers and students alike,” the College Board said.

Channel 9 reached out to the Florida Department of Education for their response to College Board’s statement. We are still awaiting a response.

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Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.

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