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South Carolina Public Schools Cease Offering AP African American Studies Course, Sparking Controversy

Classroom diversity and education.

AP African American Studies Course Will No Longer be Offered in South Carolina Public Schools

In a move that has resulted in widespread dissent, it has been announced that the South Carolina Department of Education will no longer offer the AP (Advanced Placement) African American Studies course in state schools. This decision has come as a revelation following a two-year pilot scheme, implemented across districts such as the Greenville County Schools, for the AP course.

The Importance of the Course

Composed by College Board, a nonprofit education organization, the course serves as a comprehensive study into the diversity of black communities within the United States. Dr. Jerret Fite, a professor at Clinton College, expressed how the class provides students with practical college-level experience while still in high school and aids in making the transition from high school to college smoother for them.

Controversy Surrounding the Decision

According to a decree issued to school districts by Deputy Superintendent Matthew Ferguson, the course has been steeped in significant controversy. The announcement has been met with vocal frustration from teachers and students within the Greenville County school district, who believe that the course is a necessary inclusion at AP level.

African American studies professors within local communities have expressed concern over the potential implications this decision could have on students’ preparation for college. “Students are aware of the implication of decisions like this,” says Dr. Jim Neighbors, a professor at Wofford College. “They understand that when a state makes a decision like this, it’s establishing a priority, a kind of hierarchy of what’s important. So when they see that African American studies are not part of the AP curriculum then they think it’s just not important.”

The Underlying Issues

Debate surrounding the possible cessation of funding for subjects such as AP African American studies was held in Columbia in an education transparency bill discussion. The controversy surrounding the course was not mentioned; instead, the issue was framed as a deficit in funding.

Local professors have highlighted the necessity of these types of classes being prioritized. Particularly pertinent was the statement made by Dr. Fite: “The issue you have with removing the AP-level courses and giving those communities an opportunity is number one, you rob this intellectual student that at a high school level, can reach potential to help them with their future. If they are on their way or on track to go to college, these courses on a high school level gives them college credit so that it expedites their education in college. If they come from an impoverished family it cuts the time down that they’re in school which also cuts the potential debt down.”

A Ray of Hope

In a somewhat consolatory move, the Department of Education has declared that districts can offer the course content through a locally-approved honors course. Following the announcement of the course withdrawal, Greenville County Schools issued a statement: “The District received official notification that the African American Studies AP course will not be available for the school year. Some high schools within Greenville County had this course scheduled for the spring, which provides the District time to consider the appropriate path moving forward.”

South Carolina Public Schools Cease Offering AP African American Studies Course, Sparking Controversy Spartanburg SC

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