TALLAHASSEE, Florida — Wednesday, Black lawmakers, religious leaders, and civil-rights leader Al Sharpton led a march to the Capitol in protest of Florida’s decision to not offer an African American studies course.
Sharpton, who has been an activist for a long time and runs the National Action Network, spent a lot of time criticizing Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Sharpton told a crowd of hundreds outside the Capitol, “If you had studied history, Governor, you would have known that messing with us in education always leads to your defeat.”
Sharpton also called for a campaign to get people to vote against the governor, who was re-elected with a large majority in November.
“You’re going to tell it all… Sharpton said, “Our kids need to know the whole story, not just to know how bad you were, but also to know how strong they are.”
From Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, people walked several blocks to the Capitol for a rally.
The march and rally happened after the state Department of Education told the College Board last month that an Advanced Placement African American Studies course would not be taught in Florida classrooms unless changes were made.
High school students can choose to take Advanced Placement classes, which are electives that can earn them college credit.
The department said that “Black queer studies” and “the reparations movement,” which were supposed to be part of the course, were among the reasons why the course was not accepted.
The College Board released a new course framework on February 1. Most of the topics and books that worried the education department were taken out.
But the Department of Education has not accepted the changes to the course. In an email sent Wednesday, Cassie Palelis, the department’s press secretary, said that the College Board “still has not sent us their official framework for review.”
The College Board and the DeSantis administration, on the other hand, have been fighting more and more. In a statement released on Saturday, the College Board said it regretted “not immediately denouncing the Florida Department of Education’s slander.” On Monday, DeSantis accused the College Board of putting “neo-Marxism into the proposed syllabus” of the course.
In response, the governor said that Florida could cut all ties with the College Board, which makes AP courses and the SAT test that college-bound students take to measure their skills in reading, math, writing, and language.
“Does it have to be done by the College Board, or can we use some of these other providers, who I think have a really, really good track record? I don’t think anyone should worry that our high school students might not be able to do that. They will for sure. “It just comes down to figuring out the best way to do it,” DeSantis said at an event in Jacksonville.
Democrats have been against the idea of leaving the services of the College Board. House Minority Leader Fentrice Driskell, a Democrat from Tampa, said that DeSantis was punishing the College Board for standing up to his administration.
“You see, that’s the problem with this guy (DeSantis), and I don’t want you to miss this: if you dare to speak out against him, he will come after you. That’s how he acts. He wants to scare us and make us feel afraid. “We can’t be scared or scared off,” Driskell told the crowd at the rally on Wednesday.