AP African American Studies pilot program begins this fall

The class will be taught at 60 schools across the country this fall and is eventually expected to be offered to any interested school by the 2024-2025 school year.

WASHINGTON — Select high schools across the country will offer an Advanced Placement African American Studies course to students this fall for the first time. 

The class will be offered at 60 schools across the country this fall, according to the College Board, the organization that oversees the nationwide AP program, which offers college-level courses at many high schools. 

The AP African American Studies pilot program will expand next school year to add more schools, and the course is expected to be offered at all interested high schools in the 2024-2025 school year. 

Students in the class will study a variety of fields, including literature, arts and humanities, political science, geography and science to explore the experiences of African Americans, according to the College Board. 

The curriculum has been in development for nearly a decade.

The pilot program comes at a time when discussions of racism in the classroom are becoming more controversial, and educators are under increased scrutiny from Republican lawmakers over how these subjects are addressed in schools. 

AP students in all courses are expected to weigh competing viewpoints, analyze different perspectives and come to their own conclusions, the College Board said.

RELATED: Talk of race, sex in schools divides Americans: AP-NORC poll

The course “will introduce a new generation of students to the amazingly rich cultural, artistic, and political contributions of African Americans,” Travis Packer, a senior vice president at the College Board, said in a statement. “We hope it will broaden the invitation to Advanced Placement and inspire students with a fuller appreciation of the American story.”

Course framework will be posted online in spring 2024 before the class launches nationwide for anyone to review. 

AP African American Studies will be the 39th advanced placement course offered by the College Board, joining other options like calculus, human geography, art history and music theory. 

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