Chiles High pulls AP Psychology amid College Board, DOE tiff

Students enrolled in the course will be automatically signed up for a dual enrollment alternative with FAMU
Published: Aug. 4, 2023 at 6:05 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 4, 2023 at 6:57 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Chiles High School announced Friday afternoon it will not offer Advanced Placement Psychology to students this school year, according to the Tallahassee school’s principal.

Chiles Principal Joseph L. Burgess said in an email to parents and students Friday afternoon that the school reevaluated the course after a discussion that started Thursday centered on the course’s instruction on gender identity and sexuality.

The Florida Department of Education instructed schools this week to no longer teach that section, saying it violates state statutes banning conversation on those topics in classrooms across the state. The College Board, the organization that oversees AP classes, criticized the DOE’s choice Thursday.

The controversy has forced educators to scramble to form new instruction plans just days ahead of the new school year.

“As many of you may have heard, there is a discrepancy in the AP Psychology required curriculum and the new statutory rules regarding appropriate instruction in the state of Florida,” Burgess wrote in the email Friday. “This difference is requiring all Florida school districts to determine alternative options for this course.”

Chiles elected to pull the course entirely. Leon County Schools spokesperson Chris Petley said the decision from Chiles does not apply across the district.

As an alternative, the high school will allow students signed up for AP Psychology to dual enroll with Florida A&M University on Chiles’s campus. The principal said the decision was made in an effort to continue offering students the opportunity to receive premier educations and college credit.

“Leon County has been collaborating today with school districts around the state to brainstorm solutions that still allow for students to receive a high-quality education, a rigorous curriculum, and the potential for college credit. We also understand that students take this course for numerous reasons and that solutions may look different for different families,” he wrote. “At Chiles, instead of offering Advanced Placement Psychology we will be offering dual enrollment classes through Florida A&M University.”

FAMU already provides on-campus dual enrollment options for Chiles seniors, according to the email. That offering will now extend to juniors who expected to take the AP Pyschology course. Students already registered for AP Psychology will automatically be enrolled in the dual enrollment classes, Burgess wrote. The options will only be available to students already registered for the class, according to the message.

“The dual enrollment courses Chiles plans to offer on our campus include General Psychology (PSY 2012) for first semester and Intro to Sociology (SYG 2000) for second semester. We are happy to share that Mrs. Kate Strickland will be our teacher for both of these courses,” Burgess wrote.

He advised students who wish to opt out of this dual enrollment option to contact their guidance counselors by email.

“All students currently scheduled will be moved to these two dual enrollment courses before the first day of school. If you do not want to take the dual enrollment courses please contact your guidance counselor by email. If you are agreeable to this dual enrollment option you do not need to do anything. The classes will be added to your schedule before school begins,” the principal wrote.

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