JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Duval County School District has announced the removal of Advanced Placement (AP) Psychology courses from its high schools, contradicting statements made just a week ago. The decision has sparked controversy among parents, students, and even a state representative.
As of today, AP Psychology will no longer be a part of the curriculum in Duval County Public Schools due to restrictions imposed by state law regarding instruction on topics such as gender identity and sexual orientation.
Richard Hill IV, a former student who had taken AP Psychology during his time in high school, expressed his disbelief, stating, “So the fact they are dropping that just for that one little piece of information is quite insane.”
DCPS told Action News Jax in an emailed statement that they want to comply with state law and not put their school leaders at risk of facing legal charges. In a statement, the school district stated in part, “If AP Psychology is taught in its entirety, which is required for students to sit for the exam, it could place teachers and school leaders in uncertain waters with potential charges under the law.”
DCPS added that since school has not started yet, they have time to make those changes to the curriculum.
Larry Hannan, a parent, expressed his discontent, stating, “I think it’s an embarrassment to the school district, they really shouldn’t be ashamed of themselves that they don’t think high schoolers have the ability to understand these things.”
The College Board, which oversees the AP program, fought back the state saying it “cannot modify AP Psychology in response to regulations,” so it must be taught either in its entirety the way it was created or it “cannot be labeled “‘AP or Advanced Placement.’”
State Representative Randy Fine, on the other hand, defended the decision, noting that the school district should respect the laws enacted by the legislature. And he expressed disapproval of the College Board’s decision saying, “It’s unfortunate, though, that they are willing to sacrifice 30,000 students because they don’t want to respect laws that are duly passed by the legislature in the state of Florida.”
With only one week left before classes begin, students are now faced with either scrambling to find a new college credit course or altering their schedules.
“Really all they’re doing is hurting students who are going to go to college and have a disadvantage compared to kids from other states and other counties who get taught things like this,” Hannan stated.
The Duval County School District is actively reaching out to affected students and families to provide support in making the necessary adjustments before the start of the school year.
Every course we teach must be taught according to state law.
If AP Psychology is taught in its entirety, which is required for students to sit for the exam, it could place teachers and school leaders in uncertain waters with potential charges under the law. Since school hasn’t begun and we have these other options, it is in everyone’s best interest to transition to other accelerated college credit courses available to us.— Full DCPS statement
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