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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

CollegeBoard’s recent actions prove it cares more about money than education

Sarah Thomas

College Board continues to erase key black figures from history.

In the recently released new course framework of AP African American Studies, topics about the queer Black experience and radical Black activists were removed largely because of right-wing political pressure. 

Removing aspects of history to appeal to the political interests of others is a form of historical revisionism, which is sadly becoming more common within CollegeBoard and in American society in general. 

College Board currently offers four history courses: AP United States History, AP European History, AP Art History and AP World History, with the recent proposed addition of AP African American Studies.

Not surprisingly, the course caused major controversy in Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’s Florida, and as a result, Florida’s Department of Education rejected the course, citing a lack of educational and historical value. The course was then altered to fit standards set by its opponents. 

Why is a “not-for-profit organization” involved in political agendas to the extent that it is willing to revise and censor its own courses? And why are students’ educations, supposedly handled by a neutral third-party organization, beginning to reflect biases from the G.O.P. radicals like DeSantis?

The reason for this sellout is quite simple: money.

CollegeBoard’s goal is to make money rather than focus on the betterment of truthful, equitable education. Although the organization is registered as a 501c nonprofit with the IRS, the organization’s CEO made $2.1 million in 2020. In 2019, the entire organization had a revenue of $1.1 billion while still continuing to claim to be a “not-for-profit organization.”

CollegeBoard also holds a monopoly over most standard testing within the U.S. and has continued to alter its courses to be accepted by conservative audiences and other right-leaning detractors. Through its actions, it has become complicit in fitting the narrative that conservative policymakers hope to broadcast for political points, rather than broadcasting the truth behind history.

These detractors have listed various reasons for disapproving of progressive history courses. For instance, Florida asserted that AP African American Studies was “a vehicle for a political agenda” and said it would block schools from adopting the course unless “problematic” topics like Black queer studies, intersectionality and radical Black activists were removed. State officials also took specific issues with the possibility of the course covering Black Lives Matter, the reparations movement and Critical Race Theory (CRT), which have since been removed from the course. 

The history of Black Americans is vital and is under-taught in high schools nationwide. The CollegeBoard engaging in conflicts of interest with lawmakers only exacerbates this problem. The decision to change the course content is deplorable, and raises questions of whether CollegeBoard censored its own material just for simple monetary gain. 

The original curriculum was not perfect, but it was relatively comprehensive and covered many aspects of Black history, from the inception of the U.S. to issues today. Contrary to what Florida politicians claimed, the curriculum’s more “controversial” aspects were not indoctrinatory or intended to sway children’s political beliefs — change for marginalized groups in history required radical thinkers. 

By removing so much of the original curriculum, dozens of people, cultures, and social changes are being discarded so that CollegeBoard can maximize its profits. Even if you ignore the obvious violation of constitutional rights that banning the teaching of these aspects of history results in, educators and students around the country should be more aware of what they’re teaching and being taught.

When an organization that makes such immense amounts of profits is allowed to alter its educational standards to appeal to a wider customer base, academic integrity and honesty is sacrificed for financial gain. 

This issue isn’t exclusive to this singular course. As ethnic studies courses and others centered around the history of marginalized groups begin to be incorporated into high schools throughout the nation, it’s important to prioritize truth over profit. Education should never be about making the most money, especially if a person is forced to sacrifice integrity in the process — and CollegeBoard should be held accountable.

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