Florida students want AP Psychology courses to stay

The Department of Education is telling schools to skip the course section on sexual orientation and gender identity
Published: Aug. 4, 2023 at 6:21 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 4, 2023 at 6:57 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV/Gray Florida Capital Bureau) - High school students across the state are trying to figure out if they’ll be allowed to take AP Psychology when they go back to school in a couple of weeks.

The Florida Department of Education is instructing schools that offer the class to skip the section on sexual orientation and gender identity. It’s a move the College Board says jeopardizes college requirements.

Thousands of high school students across Florida take Advanced Placement classes to get ready for college. Chiles High School junior Grayson Russell said he planned to take the class, but the school announced after his interview Friday that it will no longer be offering it to students.

Russell is one of thousands of students planning on taking AP Psychology when school starts next week. And he said the class is related to his plans for his career after high school.

“I want to go into psycholinguistics,” Russell said.

The Florida Department of Education is keeping AP Psychology on the official course list in the state, but it told schools the section of the curriculum talking about sexuality and gender identity can’t be taught.

A new law bans those topics from being taught through 8th grade. The state board of education expanded than ban through high school outside of optional health lessons.

“What’s the harm of taking that away? We’re high schoolers. We can handle it. It’s something we already know about. What’s the damage from learning about it from an academic perspective,” Russell said.

The College Board, which provides college-level classes to high schools, said the section has been part of the class since it started 30 years ago. It said any modifications to the class means it can’t be labeled as “AP.”

The board is going as far as encouraging schools to not offer the course, because it will either break Florida law or not meet college requirements.

“It’s meant to be challenging and encouraging you to think,” Russell said.

The Florida Department of Education said other advanced course providers, including the International Baccalaureate program, didn’t have an issue providing a psychology class.

Meanwhile, the Florida Association of District School Superintendents said it is working with the state and local schools that want to continue to offer AP psychology.

More than 28,000 Florida students took the class during the last school year.

This isn’t the first AP class the Florida Department of Education has had issues with this year. The department rejected the AP African American Studies class in January.