Florida has effectively banned Advanced Placement Psychology in all public schools because the course includes content on sexual orientation and gender identity, a violation of the state’s draconian “Don’t Say Gay” law.
The College Board revealed the ban on Thursday, adding that it has heard from teachers across the state who are heartbroken by the news.
“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,” the College Board said in a statement. “The state has said districts are free to teach AP Psychology only if it excludes any mention of these essential topics.”
According to the Orlando Sentinel, nearly 27,000 students in Florida took A.P. Psychology last year, and the course has been offered in the state since it was first launched in 1993.
A.P. Psychology asks students to “describe how sex and gender influence socialization and other aspects of development.” Florida’s Department of Education had asked the College Board to omit these sections from the curriculum, a move the organization rejected.
“We have learned from our mistakes in the recent rollout of AP African American Studies and know that we must be clear from the outset where we stand,” the College Board said in a statement in June.
The College Board stressed that the lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity are part of the class and, if they are erased, the course will not be able to carry the A.P. designation.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis expanded the state’s “Don’t Say Gay” law in May, banning lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity in every grade. He has waged a war on education in the state, targeting anything he perceives as too “woke.”
Earlier this year, DeSantis forced the College Board to water down its A.P. African American studies course, stripping Black Lives Matter and the work of many queer Black writers from the curriculum. Last month, the state Department of Education announced that middle school students will be required to learn that “slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.”