AP African American Studies Prepares to Launch: NAHS to Introduce Course in 2024


John Calame

Advanced Placement Evolves: AP African Studies plans to launch curriculum nation-wide in 2024, after controversy delayed its implementation in 2022.

Advanced Placement (AP) African American Studies has been in development by College Board – a non-profit organization administering AP classes – for over a decade and is currently offering pilot courses to hundreds of schools nationwide. Although controversy has shadowed the class’s smooth rollout, College Board plans to provide it to all high schools beginning in 2024. Throughout 2022 and into 2023, the course’s curriculum continues to see adaptations as students, teachers, historians, and Americans grapple with the role of subjectivity in history classes.

After the course was introduced to 60 schools in a pilot trial, including several in Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis claimed that the AP African American Studies curriculum should not be implemented, banning its introduction in the state. Additional opposition to the course came against claims that it is teaching critical race theory. The result of controversy: A complete rework of the curriculum and a re-release into schools across the nation in 2024. The adapted curriculum aims to explore African American History across centuries, including present-day sociopolitical change and the evolution of race relations with respect to the current political climate.

Though North Atlanta may not have been an AP African American Studies pilot program member, it does offer the course at the standard level, taught by teacher Elliott Reid. Reid is passionate about the subject and believes that the new program accomplishes the aims of the standard level while adding additional academic rigor. Reid aims to teach the AP class upon its introduction to NAHS and has recently been approved for the course’s training. Amidst the class’s controversy, Reid seeks to approach the class positively. “This course isn’t meant to please everyone, but the curriculum is still flexible enough for me to teach it well,” he said.

Another implication of the new program is student interest, although students such as junior Sati Rogerson believe interest will be a manageable hindrance. Rogerson considers the course curriculum content a fundamental part of American History. “I don’t see why more of the curriculum isn’t present in current history classes,” he said.

Due to continued efforts by Reid, NAHS, and APS – and positive outlooks by students like Rogerson – AP African Studies will be a likely candidate for introduction into the NAHS AP curriculum in 2024. Despite its controversies and revised curriculum, students and staff at North Atlanta and beyond are determined to integrate African American studies into the AP program.