Equality Florida Responds to AP Psychology Guidance from FL DOE

Equality Florida Responds to AP Psychology Guidance from FL DOE 

Calls for repeal of discriminatory Don't Say LGBTQ law and rule

TALLAHASSEE, FL -- Amidst mounting national pushback, Florida Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz has issued guidance to Florida school districts informing them that AP Psychology can be taught “in its entirety” in classrooms. The guidance comes after the Department of Education’s initial guidance informing state superintendents that AP Psychology, a course taken by tens of thousands of Florida students last year, was incongruent with rulemaking passed earlier this year banning instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in K-12 grades. As passed, any teacher found in violation of the new “Don’t Say LGBTQ” rule is subject to disciplinary action by the Florida Department of Education including suspension and revocation of their license. The College Board, the national entity charged with developing AP curriculum, responded immediately warning that any censorship would invalidate an AP designation. In turn, the decision from the Florida department of education effectively robbed Florida students’ and parents’ access to the college credits designed to make higher education more affordable.  

Equality Florida Senior Political Director Joe Saunders issued the following statement:

This week Florida’s parents are waking up to the reality that Governor Desantis, Education Commissioner Manny Diaz, and the Florida Board of Education have turned our public schools into political battlefields. Their intentionally vague Don’t Say LGBTQ rule, built on the  legislature’s Don’t Say LGBTQ law, is fostering sweeping censorship in every classroom in our state. 

Commissioner Diaz’s most recent guidance that AP Psychology should be taught “in its entirety” is a recognition that sweeping censorship is wildly unpopular and, unchecked, will continue to do harm to educational opportunities for Florida’s students and to public education. AP Psychology is one of the most popular AP options for Florida students and has been taught for years, including the curriculum related to sexual orientation and gender identity, in a way that is age appropriate and in accordance with state standards.

We applaud the school districts that have held strong in the fight against the censorship of the Don’t Say LGBTQ law and rule and encourage all education leaders to take the Commissioner at his word. Districts and teachers should  teach AP Psychology in its entirety -- including the LGBTQ-inclusive content. Additionally, we call on the Department of Education to immediately issue clarifying guidance that affirms AP Psychology’s alignment with state standards and protects AP Psychology teachers from political attacks for teaching the course "in its entirety." 

But let's be clear.  We did not have to be here. Governor DeSantis and his political ambition have turned Florida’s classrooms into political battlegrounds. Put an end to the chaos. Let teachers teach. Let students learn. And stop using Florida’s schools as a petri dish for the right wing anti-freedom agenda. The hateful Don’t Say LGBTQ rule should be repealed immediately.


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