The Sanders Department of Education is refusing to recognize AP African American Studies, leaving students with less educational opportunities and discouraging districts from offering the course.
Stand up for Black History in Arkansas. Sign the petition today to fight back and tell the Department of Education to restore AP African American Studies in Arkansas schools.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 14, 2023 | Press Contact: Micah Wallace | firstname.lastname@example.org | 479-295-0495
Arkansas High School Students Condemn Sanders Administration Removal of AP African American Studies from Arkansas Curriculum & Promote Petition
Students and Young Democrats Leaders encourage others to speak out and sign petition in support of restoring the course and teaching Black History
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Following an unprecedented and unnecessary overreach from the Arkansas Department of Education refusing to recognize AP African American Studies as an approved Arkansas AP course, students are calling on the Department of Education to return the course to the approved AP list and allow students to receive the accurate and balanced education they deserve.
“We are deeply saddened, but not surprised, to hear of the restriction placed on the offering of AP African American studies in Arkansas,” Vivian Day, a Central High Young Democrat, said. “We, the students at Central, feel cheated by the lack of transparency from the Department of Education and hurt by the clear effect this decision will have on schools such as ours. As someone who took the class last year, I know firsthand how political attacks manage to undermine the ability of students to learn valuable information about the history and culture of African Americans. The explanation provided by the Secretary of Education to the Little Rock School District cannot justify the sudden reversal of policy which occurred late last week.”
“I am extremely displeased with the state of Arkansas for not counting the AP African American Studies course as a credit,” Mikayla Liddell, a junior at Little Rock Central High and a member of the Black Student Union, said. “It is just as much of a history as AP European History, AP World History, AP U.S. History, & many other history classes. With them doing this, it may make students shy away from taking the course. Every student should be able to learn about other histories & gain class credit.”
Jacksonville High AP Teacher Julia Gardner said, “As an AP teacher, I am deeply disappointed and concerned about the deletion of the AP African American course catalog number by the Department of Education in Arkansas. This decision hampers the true goals of schools, which should be to provide a comprehensive and inclusive education for all students. By denying them the opportunity to learn about the history and experiences of African Americans through the critical lens that College Board offers, this action perpetuates harmful stereotypes and perpetuates systemic racism within our education system. It is crucial that we fight against such blatant attempts to stifle knowledge and ensure that our students have access to a well-rounded education that accurately reflects our diverse community.”
“Black history is Arkansas history,” Young Democrats of Arkansas President Allison Grigsby Sweatman said. “Removing AP African American Studies from the list of approved AP courses is a blatantly racist move by Sarah Sanders’ new Department of Education. As usual, our state deserves better, and we will continue to fight until all Arkansas students receive the education they deserve.”
A student-endorsed petition released by the Young Democrats of Arkansas on Sunday urges supporters to sign up and show their support for teaching Black American history in Arkansas schools, both in the form of AP African American Studies and in American and Arkansas history curriculums.
The petition can be found here, and community members are encouraged to sign up to show their support. The Young Democrats also include other resources to speak out, including contact information for Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Department of Education Secretary Jacob Oliva.
The Young Democrats of Arkansas is one of the largest youth political organizations in the state. YDAR is a youth-led coalition of students and young people between the ages of 14 and 35 bringing youth attention, awareness, and involvement to the political process.
Those involved in this statement are available for interviews via Zoom and in-person in Central Arkansas.