Just days after getting the Biden White House to support its new, openly Marxist high school class, College Board appears to have backed down after Gov. Ron DeSantis’ refusal to allow the class into Florida. On Tuesday, the massive curriculum company said it is revising its draft Advanced Placement African-American studies class and will release the changes within a week.
On Friday and Sunday, respectively, the White House press secretary and U.S. vice president publicly criticized the DeSantis administration for denying the class entry into Florida. The two characterized as “American history” the critical race theory-laden teaching materials that spoke positively of violence and racial strife and presented no opposing nor divergent perspectives.
DeSantis responded on Monday by pointing out that drafts of official materials for the class, which College Board has refused to release publicly, include “queer theory” and characterize extremist, Black Panther-style racial ideology as representing black Americans.
After College Board’s Tuesday announcement, the DeSantis administration celebrated the promised revisions as a win.
“As Governor DeSantis said, African American History is American History, and we will not allow any organization to use an academic course as a gateway for indoctrination and a political agenda. We look forward to reviewing the College Board’s changes and expect the removal of content on Critical Race Theory, Black Queer Studies, Intersectionality and other topics that violate our laws,” responded Florida’s education department in a statement.
This is definitely a win, but as DeSantis Press Secretary Bryan Griffin notes above, it’s not yet a complete win. The College Board deserves continued scrutiny, if not an expanded investigation of its teaching materials in every Republican-controlled state, for multiple reasons.
People Who Can’t Tell Their Draft Was Racist Aren’t Credible
The first and most obvious reason is the original draft of this class. As College Board admits, the racist preliminary draft of this course is being piloted in dozens of high schools right now. A company that puts out such materials into classrooms is not a company one can trust to fix what’s wrong with them.
Furthermore, the company released this appalling draft under cover of secrecy. College Board alleges that its curricula used in public schools and funded almost entirely by tax dollars comprise “trade secrets” and therefore can’t be released to the taxpayers paying for them. Such secrecy and intimidation are suspicious in themselves and should be regarded as such.
Anything administered to children in public schools should be able to be published or, in the limited instance of tests, viewed by outside reviewers on behalf of the public. Anyone who resists such basic public transparency that is expected of every government entity and action doesn’t deserve public contracts.
Pulling Strings with the White House Should Be a Nonstarter with All Republicans
A third reason not to give College Board the benefit of the doubt is its use of close ties with the Democrat-controlled White House to push lies about its draft curricula and to politicize American history. As DeSantis said, it’s completely false to describe “queer theory” as somehow relevant to African-American history. Yet that is what the White House did when running interference for College Board on this class.
College Board President David Coleman was the chief architect of Common Core. Because of that history, he is personally known to multiple high-level educrats from the Obama White House, which has been largely replicated in the Biden administration. He clearly used his extremely high-level Democrat connections to try to protect his corporation’s lucrative curriculum monopoly here.
That’s not the action of an honest and apolitical entity. It’s the action of a politicized private organization playing hardball to protect its use of its education monopoly to help its preferred political party. Siccing the Democrat White House on your PR problem is certainly a high-wattage play, but it should immediately disqualify College Board from doing any business with Republicans. Any Republicans who can’t see that and act accordingly are fools.
A fourth reason to distrust the College Board’s pledged “revisions” is that it previously responded to criticism of overt leftist curricular bias by obscuring yet retaining that bias. College Board did this, for example, in its recently revised U.S. and European history courses, as the National Association of Scholars has documented.
This, by the way, is a key reason neither DeSantis nor any other Republican officeholder with authority over education should be satisfied with College Board’s actions regarding the draft African-American studies class. They should investigate College Board’s other courses and consider also forbidding their use in public schools.
Academia Needs Slashing and Burning, Not Expansion
That plays into a fifth reason to be skeptical of College Board’s promised revisions to this class, plus its entire Advanced Placement (AP) series. These AP classes grant both high school and college credit after a satisfactory final test score. They are designed to offer college classes to high school students. It’s an ingenious idea, although also reveals the low quality of most American high schools. Yet it’s also a dangerous idea, because of the well-documented far-left bias of higher education institutions.
As Scott Yenor wrote recently in American Reformer, the political right has loudly complained about leftist bias in academia since at least the 1950s. Yet higher education has only gotten worse, to the point that the vast majority of college classes today work not to educate but to indoctrinate. It’s time to stop pretending to reform this garbage system. Instead of offering it any respect, it’s time to slash and burn it and build alternative infrastructure.
Studies show that more than one-third of those who enter college do not graduate, although many do end up in debt for the degree they didn’t get. Of those who do graduate, nearly half have effectively learned nothing. They spent four — or, more often, six! — years of their young lives, plus millions in taxpayer funds, learning nothing. In some respects, such as American citizenship, Ivy League college graduates are actually dumber after they’ve spent more time in college.
Extending this dysfunctional and biased system into high school, as College Board’s Advanced Placement system exists to do, is the exact wrong approach. It may give more intellectual engagement to bright teens, but at the price of miseducating them with far-left lies about reality. What we need instead are actually good classes, not crap classes given some lipstick and slapped on the kids.
It’s time to be done trusting College Board. That organization has helped prop up a corrupt system and abused its power out of sight of parents and taxpayers for far too long. It’s time for real scrutiny not only of all the materials it puts out, but also of how College Board classes look when rolled out into classrooms, and of the corrupt and broken higher education system they ape.
Mere textual changes are not enough. The objectionable materials can be easily doctored — and have been before — to hide how teachers are taught to use them in College Board trainings and in Marxist-leaning teachers colleges. We should in fact expect that to be happening, given the context.
No more “trust, buy, and then verify” from America’s deeply corrupt education institutions, including College Board. Verification first from these highly paid liars.