Florida Backs Down, Allows AP Psychology

Sanity has prevailed.

NPR/AP (“AP psychology class may be available to Florida students after all“):

The first time the College Board bumped up against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s efforts to inject conservative ideals into education standards, it ultimately revamped the Advanced Placement course for African American studies, watering down curriculum on slavery reparations and the Black Lives Matter movement — and a nationwide backlash ensued.

Now, faced with altering its AP Psychology course to comply with Florida’s limits on teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity, the nonprofit College Board is pushing back. It advised the state’s school districts Thursday to not offer the college-level course to Florida’s high school students unless it can be taught in full.

By late Friday, statements from both sides suggested students in Florida would be able to take the full course after all.

In a letter to state superintendents, Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. said the state believed the psychology course could be taught “in its entirety.”

The College Board said it hoped Florida teachers now will be able “to teach the full course, including content on gender and sexual orientation, without fear of punishment in the upcoming school year.”


Because the College Board is standing by its decades-old psychology curriculum, school districts in the rest of the country are not being affected — unlike when it made changes to the African American studies curriculum.

In its statement Thursday, the College Board said DeSantis’ administration “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.”

Florida’s Department of Education rejected the assertion that it had banned the course. The statement Friday from Diaz said the AP course can be taught “in a manner that is age and developmentally appropriate.”

Under an expanded Florida law, lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity are not allowed unless required by existing state standards or as part of reproductive health instruction that students can choose not to take. In the spring the state asked the College Board and other providers of college-level courses to review their offerings for potential violations.

Given that AP courses are optional and targeted at high schoolers, the content really shouldn’t have been an issue to begin with. Regardless, a win for common sense and for college-bound Florida students.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. steve says:

    Guess DeSantis will need to take that Tom Petty song off of his playlist.


  2. de stijl says:

    Ron DeSantis, the Joffrey Baratheon of current day politics.

    So brittle and paranoid he bans anything that could possibly breed dissension. Next week he bans rainbows in Florida because rainbows are gay.


    Two anecdotes about Florida.

    One summer I was at an extended work gig in greater Orlando. It was fucking miserable. August in Orlando is the godamn worst. I scurried from AC space to AC space. Big heat + big humidity is just painfully miserable to me. Plus, I was working and living in suburbia which is not a space I am accustomed to nor feel comfortable in.

    Many jobs I stick around for the weekend and just explore and hang out and have fun and meet new folks. You basically only need to go home once a month to collect mail and pay bills. In Orlando I went home every weekend. I didn’t want be there even though getting home was seven hours of airport / airplane hell. No direct flight. And then the reverse hell on Sundays.

    Suburban Orlando in August is hell to me.


    I was going to a conference in Miami Beach at the Foutainbleu hotel.

    I showed up and they had already put somebody else in my room. There was no room at the inn. They dishonored my booked reservation. The front desk person was apologizing profusely and at great length. After about a minute I stopped her asked where the closest other hotel was. She fetched the manager.

    It turned out the penthouse party suite was not booked that night. So they set me up in there. A helpful dude wheeled a cot in. It wasn’t a cot, it was this little skinny bed on wheels. Rockstars, popstars, rapstars would pay 5 figures to host a party there for a night.

    I got it for free.

    Two floors. The top was basically a big wrap around balcony looking down on the main party space. There was a stage. The TV was this huge 80 inch rear projection behemoth the size of a Volkswagon tipped on its side. I flicked it on and CSI: Miami was playing. Entirely appropriate. I wandered around and gawked at everything. Went out onto the balcony and watched ships sailing into port. The Foutainbleu is not that tall, maybe 8 or 10 stories maybe, wider than it is tall, but still a damn fine view.

    I couldn’t figure out how to turn all of the lights off in the main room, so I wheeled my little cot bed thingie into the kitchen where the light switch actually made sense and crashed out.

    Next day they put me into a standard hotel room, but for one night I was a star.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    To repeat myself from the open forum,