Many on the left have continued to push the narrative that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, R., wanted to ban an Advanced Placement (AP) African American Studies course outright, as he continues to fight back against critical race theory in the classroom.
But critics are pushing back on that portrayal, arguing the governor was specifically objecting to indoctrination topics being mandatory within the course itself.
Independent Women's Voice Senior Fellow Carrie Sheffield clashed with CNN host Alisyn Camerota Wednesday night over the issue after Camerota accused DeSantis of wanting to rid schools of Black history all together.
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Sheffield argued the course's now-optional contemporary topics, like Black Lives Matter "theology," do not reflect the values of renowned civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.
"I would describe the woke left as trying to cancel Western civilization, trying to cancel the fundamentals of what America was built upon, trying to say that America's founding was inherently to preserve slavery – that is what the 1619 Project, which is funded by the New York Times and won Pulitzer Prizes, it's a joke historically, it's ahistorical, it's not true," Sheffield said during "CNN Tonight."
But Camerota pushed back, insinuating the Florida governor's goal was to "eradicate" Black history, in its entirety, from high schools across the state.
"Let me just say, aren't we getting to the point where people like Governor DeSantis are not allowing any sort of Black history, an AP Black history course he wants to be eradicated from high school, isn't that important to have that part of history?" she questioned Sheffield.
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Sheffield noted controversial course topics were rejected because there was "no balance in the curriculum."
She cited the unequal treatment of Black conservatives like Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, abolitionist Frederick Douglass, and author Zora Neal Hurston as grounds for the refusal.
"Black conservatives, they are given short shrift, there is no balance in this curriculum, and so he says I don't believe a curriculum should be teaching children to hate each other and to divide people on levels of privilege," she said. "That is a rejection of Dr. King's dream."
Sheffield also called out Black Lives Matter for being "fraudulent," accusing the organization of attempting to peddle political ideology upon America's most vulnerable – children.
"Black lives matter, they matter, obviously, but the organization, the actual people who run it, they are fraudulent," Sheffield said. "They've been tried by the IRS to say you are bilking people for millions of dollars. And Patrisse Cullors, one of the founders of it, she has said, explicitly, ‘I am a trained Marxist.'"
"So it is a political ideology that you are trying to force on young children in order to divide people by skin color," she continued. "That is deeply problematic, and it is ideological in nature, and it is not neutral history."
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Florida's Department of Education previously sent a letter to the College Board over concerns surrounding some of its topics, including "Black Queer Studies" and "The Reparations," noting it would reject the course unless changes were made to the curriculum.
It said it would refuse to offer the class because it lacked "educational value."
In response, the College Board revised the curriculum and made notable, contemporary topics, including Black Lives Matter, optional.
But despite the changes, the Board accused Florida of political weaponization and even released a statement expressing regret it did not push back on the DeSantis administration's stance.
"We deeply regret not immediately denouncing the Florida Department of Education’s slander, magnified by the DeSantis administration’s subsequent comments, that African American Studies ‘lacks educational value.’ Our failure to raise our voice betrayed Black scholars everywhere and those who have long toiled to build this remarkable field," the board said in a statement.
The college-level course is expected to launch in the 2024-2025 school year.