The Rainbow Report – Florida Department of Education’s AP Psychology Censorship 🌈
“Only oppression should fear the full exercise of freedom.” – José Martí
As I reflect on my time in AP Psychology at Coral Park Senior High School, I remember it as a time when my peers and I delved into the intricacies of the human mind and spirit, not merely as psychological constructs but as beautifully diverse embodiments of human existence. Our studies encompassed all facets of human identity, including gender and sexual orientation, creating a vibrant picture of the human condition. Today, I find myself confounded by the news that the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) seeks to eliminate these critical aspects of our shared humanity from public education, a move that seemed to “effectively ban” the course before both parties suggested that it could continue.
The recent decision by the FDOE and the College Board’s response has created uncertainty for the future of the course in Florida, even though more than 28,000 students in the state took AP Psychology last year. Under new Florida rules, instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation is now restricted, putting the course in the spotlight. The FDOE’s request for assurance from the College Board that the curriculum would comply with state laws was met with refusal, leading to a public tussle over the fate of the class.
The actions taken by the FDOE diminish the dignity and visibility of queer individuals and obstruct an authentic and scientifically-rooted understanding of human psychology. The fond memories of those enlightening discussions in high school, which were instrumental in shaping my understanding of human nature, starkly contrast with the current efforts to distort and restrict the content of these vital courses.
This decision appears to be a troubling attempt to wield government influence to effectively erase queer individuals from the human narrative. Such a move undermines not only the dignity of our queer siblings but also diminishes a comprehensive, scientifically-based understanding of what it means to be human. Regrettably, this form of censorship is not a novel occurrence. The continual intervention of the FDOE in Advanced Placement courses, reminiscent of their earlier interference with AP African American studies, threatens to curtail the opportunities for Florida students to earn college credits and advance their academic journeys while still in high school.
These courses are crucial platforms where young minds are exposed to a broad understanding of the human condition, fostering empathy and an appreciation of the vast array of human experiences. This cultivation of compassion is critical for building an inclusive and compassionate society where diverse individuals can unite to instigate collective change.
The recent College Board statement underscores the necessity of including topics such as gender and sexual orientation in a comprehensive psychology curriculum. Consequently, it is imperative to resist efforts to censor or restrict the scope of these courses and to advocate for an education that truly represents the multifaceted nature of humanity. The situation, although somewhat resolved for now, leaves lingering questions about the teaching of the course in line with the state’s new rule, maintaining uncertainty for the upcoming school year.
By: Harold Marrero
Chief Operating Officer
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