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South Carolina Public Schools Drop AP African American Studies Courses Statewide 

The South Carolina Department of Education has announced that AP African American studies will no longer be offered in the state's schools. This decision follows the completion of a two-year pilot program in districts like Greenville County Schools. The course, developed by College Board, focuses on the diversity of black communities in the U.S.

Dr. Jerret Fite, a Clinton College professor, highlighted the course's importance for providing students with college-level experience while still in high school, easing their transition to college. However, state superintendent Ellen Weaver cited significant controversy surrounding the course in her statement to school districts.

“They [students] are getting hands-on college experience while still in high school so the transition from high school to college is not that hard for them,” said Dr. Jerret Fite, a Clinton College professor.

Teachers and students in Greenville County have expressed frustration over the course's removal, emphasizing its necessity at the AP level. Local professors specializing in African American studies are concerned about the decision's impact on college-bound students. Dr. Jim Neighbors from Wofford College noted that such decisions establish a priority and hierarchy of importance, suggesting that excluding African American studies from the AP curriculum sends a message that it is not important.

“Students are aware of the implication of decisions like this,” said Dr. Neighbors. “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.

An education transparency bill discussed in Columbia, which would end funding for classes like AP African American studies, cites a funding deficit rather than controversy as the issue. Professors argue for the importance of such classes, with Dr. Fite stating that removing AP-level courses denies students, especially those from impoverished families, opportunities for advanced intellectual development and expedited college education, potentially reducing future debt.

The Department of Education mentioned that districts could offer the course content as a locally-approved honors course. Greenville County School District, which had planned to offer the course in spring 2025, is now considering alternative options following the notification from the Department of Education.

Link: WSAV


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