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AP Psychology banned in Florida, creates concern for future of education

Connie Erdozain
On Aug. 3 the College Board released a statement about the ban on AP Psychology in the state of Florida due to topics discussing gender identity and sexual orientation.

Florida opposed on to some content expressed in College Board’s AP Psychology course gender identity and sexuality. The state requested the removal of the material. College Board refused and the state banned the course.

“We are sad to have learned that today the Florida Department of Education has effectively banned AP Psychology in the state by instructing Florida superintendents that teaching foundational content on sexual orientation and gender identity is illegal under state law,” College Board said. “The state has said districts are free to teach AP Psychology only if it excludes any mention of these essential topics.” 

College Board said it is unable to change the course material to adjust  to  the  censoring   of  what  it  deemed  as  college-level standards. 

“As we shared in June, we cannot modify AP Psychology in response to regulations that would censor college-level standards for credit, placement and career readiness,” College Board said. “Our policy remains unchanged. Any course that censors required course content cannot be labeled ‘AP’ or ‘Advanced Placement,’ and the ‘AP Psychology’ designation cannot be utilized on student transcripts.”

AP Psychology teacher Andrew Copeland, who has been teaching at Midtown for 10 years,  believes the scale of curriculum about gender identity and development is very small.

“I think if you look at the AP Psychology curriculum, there’s one little learning target under developmental [psychology] about it, and as a curriculum, as a whole, it is an extremely small part of it,” Copeland said. “You can look at textbooks, [but] there’s not that much, and I think that 99.9%, of the course doesn’t really have anything to do with it.”

None of these changes in Florida affect Georgia yet, but with instances of critical race theory (CRT) being put into effect in Georgia banning what is viewed as ‘divisive concepts’ through Georgia House Bill 1084, AP Psychology student, junior Eden Sharp said the future looks uncertain.

“I believe the ban in Florida is insane and completely unjustified, [and] I just hope Georgia doesn’t start to enforce policies like this,” Sharp said. “The right to academic freedom shouldn’t even be a debate in 2023. It’s beyond important that students get to have academic freedom so they can develop their own opinions on topics.”

Copeland believes there is a possibility similar course changes could spillover into Georgia.

“There could be a world where our next governor might make this an issue and then say, ‘Florida made an issue with these things, so now we’re going to make [concepts discussing gender and identity] an issue’ and you can see chain reactions in conservative states,” Copeland said.

Changes were also made by College Board for the AP African American studies course, due to disagreement with the so called “divisive concepts” taught in the class. The subject matter had heavy opposition from Florida’s Governor, Ron DeSantis. Social studies teacher Jason Slaven believes that the course may be modified since Georgia law prohibits the teaching of “divisive concepts.”

“I believe the controversy is over the state of Florida banning AP Psychology because of gender issues that are discussed,” Slaven said. “Potentially banning AP African American Studies over what they deem as divisive concepts usually extends to discussions regarding race and how the United States has historically treated individuals of different races.”

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About the Contributors
Hannah Silver
Hannah Silver, Lifestyle Associate Managing Editor
Hannah Silver is a junior and this is her third year writing for the Southerner. When she's not spending her time writing, she is doing cheer, is beta club co-vice president, plays violin, is a company member at her dance studio, is a latin club officer, jewish student union leadership member, and enjoys hanging out with her friends.
Connie Erdozain
Connie Erdozain, A&E Managing Editor
Connie Erdozain is a junior and this is her third year writing for the Southerner. When she isn't writing, Connie enjoys painting, playing the piano, reading and spending time with her friends.

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