The Future of Black History Education – Dorsey High Leads the Way

Susan Miller Dorsey Senior High School has been the target of controversy with its new Advanced Placement African-American Studies course, which aims to teach students about the “Black experience.” Here’s the whole story. 

New Class Causes Controversy

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“It’s the truth” – A new AP class at Susan Miller Dorsey Senior High School in Los Angeles has drawn support from its students after accusations of “wokeism” and “indoctrination.”

The course focuses on the history of the “Black experience,” from early African kingdoms to the modern day. 

700 Schools and Counting

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Dorsey Senior High was not the only U.S. school to introduce the AP African American Studies class, with more than 700 high schools currently introducing it.

The class was created by the non-profit College Board in 2020 after the death of George Floyd and ensuing nationwide protests.

Challenging Historical Perceptions 

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High school teacher Donald Singleton recently held the first period of his Advanced Placement African American Studies class at Dorsey High School, which he believes will challenge his student’s perceptions of both U.S. and world history.

Students Are Excited

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In an interview with CBS, he told reporters, “My students come in excited. They’ve done the reading. And they wonder, ‘Wow, I never learned this in any of my other classes.’” And his students were inclined to agree.

Students Speak Out

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Junior student Rosselyn Reyes told CBS “This isn’t a political class. This isn’t like choosing sides. It’s history that everybody should know.”

Senior Kessiah Bing explained that she took the class “to learn more about my people, my history,” saying that “it’s the truth.”

“No Hatred of Any Kind”

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Another Dorsey senior, Hassan Wright, has pointedly denied that the class is anti-American or anti-white.

“If there was a class that was deliberately telling students to hate White people and hate this country, I would be against that class, too,” he said. “I don’t think we should teach hatred of any kind.”

Continued Controversy

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Despite Dorsey student’s claims that the course is not political or controversial and does not encourage racial division, many right-wing voters and politicians have vehemently disagreed.

Banned in Florida

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Republican Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis has been one of the most prominent and outspoken critics of the African American Studies AP class, calling it “indoctrination.”

It was promptly banned in the state not long after being introduced.

New State Curriculum

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Florida’s Department of Education also made national headlines when it adopted new standards for teaching Black history earlier this year.

Its new curriculum now includes clarification that “slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit,” which has drawn significant criticisms and public backlash.  

Leftist Propaganda?

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Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Governor of Arkansas, had also spoken out.

In a discussion about the class, she stated that “we cannot perpetuate a lie to our students and propaganda leftist agenda teaching our kids to hate America and hate one another.”

Does Not Comply

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Similar to Florida, the class has come under intense scrutiny in her state.

Though the Arkansas state government has not outright banned the class, it currently does not count toward graduation credits as “it may not comply with Arkansas law,” according to an official letter sent to state superintendents. 

Buckling Under Pressure

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This political pressure may have influenced the contents of the course itself. After the banning in Florida, the curriculum was amended by the College Board.

Certain lessons on Black Lives Matter, reparations, and systemic racism were changed and some content was removed. 

Sanitizing the Truth

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Los Angeles Unified School District superintendent Alberto Carvalho criticized the changes, saying, “You cannot leave out or sanitize slavery or the civil rights movements, or the fact that our nation has [imprisoned] disproportionate numbers of people of color.”

However, representatives of the Board have stated that the changes are simply part of a “regular development process.”

Empowerment Not Indoctrination

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Singleton insists that the course is there to empower students, not to indoctrinate them.

What’s more, he believes that the course will lead to higher numbers of AP students at a school like Dorsey High, where most students are Black and Latino. 

Open to All

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Though more than 700 US high schools have already implemented the AP course, next year, the College Board will officially open the class to any nationwide high schools interested in taking it.

Time will tell whether it becomes more or less accepted by parents and students nationwide.

The post The Future of Black History Education – Dorsey High Leads the Way first appeared on Pulse of Pride.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / El Nariz. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.

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