Evanston Township High School is one of only 60 high schools across the country currently testing an advanced placement course in African American Studies.

The District 202 Board of Education was updated earlier this week about AP classes at ETHS, which now includes a pilot AP African American Studies class.

ETHS offers more than 30 AP courses, college-level content taught in high school. Students who then get a high enough score on the AP exam can receive college credit.

AP African American Studies “has been an exciting for the students,” said Dale Leibforth, an ETHS department chair involved in the AP program.

“We’re excited to offer it,” Leibforth said, “as is the College Board,” the agency which administers the AP program.

Next school year, Leibforth said, AP African American Studies will become a formal offering at ETHS.

According to the College Board, hundreds of additional schools nationwide will join the pilot program in 2023-24, with all schools able to offer the course in 2024-25.

AP African American Studies has been injected into political culture wars by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a possible Republican presidential hopeful for 20204.

DeStantis has just blocked Florida high schools from offering the course.

According to CNN, the Florida Department of Education wrote to the College Board, saying the course is “inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value.”

The Florida agency said that it might reconsider should the College Board “come back to the table with lawful, historically accurate content.”

Shevrin Jones, a Black Florida legislator and a Democrat, called his state’s move “political extremism” and an “attack of Black History and Black people….”

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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