Leon County Schools to teach full AP Psychology course

The district announced the decision Tuesday amid a dispute between the state and the College Board
LCS announces it will move forward with AP Psychology course
Published: Aug. 8, 2023 at 5:27 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 8, 2023 at 10:15 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Just days ahead of the new school year, Leon County Schools announced the district will teach Advanced Placement Psychology in the course’s entirety.

The school district announced the decision on Facebook with a statement from Superintendent Rocky Hanna on Tuesday afternoon.

The move comes amid a standoff between the College Board, an organization that develops the college-level courses for high schoolers, and the Florida Department of Education. The disagreement erupted last week after the DOE said some content on gender identity and sexual orientation in the course violates state law, which limits those topics in some Florida classrooms.

Districts and educators faced questions from students, parents and staff on how or if the developments would affect the students’ schedules and instruction plans as most Florida districts approached the start of the new school year. The first day of school in Leon County is Thursday.

After the DOE comments on the course, Chiles High School announced Friday that the school would no longer offer AP Psychology to its students, providing a dual enrollment alternative through FAMU in its place. But LCS spokesperson Chris Petley said the district’s announcement Tuesday reverses that decision.

Nearly 400 students are currently registered for the course in Leon County, which will be taught by seven teachers in six high schools, Petley said. Some educators have voiced concerns about the course and following the law, he said. But LCS is choosing to “take the commissioner at his word” and teach the course in full.

“I have communicated to our staff to respect the law and follow the law, but not to fear the law and do more than it requires,” the LCS superintendent wrote.

Petley referred to a statement from Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. released last week during the back-and-forth between the College Board and the DOE.

After the College Board publicly condemned the DOE criticism, Diaz Jr. seemingly rolled back the agency’s previous stance. In a statement to superintendents Friday, he said, “the Department believes that AP Psychology can be taught in its entirety in a manner that is age and developmentally appropriate and the course remains listed in our course catalog.”

The LCS spokesperson said he doesn’t know if the debate over AP Psychology will affect enrollment numbers in the course.

“We’ll have to see when school starts Thursday,” he said.

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