High school students across the country now have the option to enroll in an African American Advanced Placement (AP) course for the first time.
The new AP class will be made available at 60 schools as part of a pilot program launched by the College Board, which created the course content in collaboration with faculty at Howard University. In the second year of the pilot, more schools will be added.
According to TIME, the new AP course will cover more than 400 years of African American history and is the College Board’s first new offering since 2014. The curriculum will cover subjects such as geography, political science, and literature.
“AP African American Studies will introduce a new generation of students to the amazingly rich cultural, artistic, and political contributions of African Americans,” senior vice president of AP and instruction at the College Board, Trevor Packer, stated.
‘Fuller Appreciation of American Story’
The College Board course debuts as school boards argue over whether to teach critical race theory, and politicians are proposing to forbid teachers from discussing systemic and historical racism with kids.
In a statement to CBS News, the Board explained that it has been developing this course for almost ten years and that it is designed to “inspire students with a fuller appreciation of the American story.”
Next year, 200 schools will offer the course before it is made available to all US high schools starting in the 2024–2025 academic year.
According to the College Board, the staggered implementation of the course will give colleges and universities time to set up accrediting guidelines so students can use the course credits to fulfill higher education requirements.
“By students learning this information earlier, it gives a greater sense of understanding and empathy for people’s experiences or walks of life that is different than their own,” an instructor at Florida State University Schools, which is part of the College Board program, told NBC.
“When we look at what’s happening in our country and the division that’s happening right now, it will actually bring us closer together by having a better understanding of each other.”