JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – AP Psychology courses, which contain brief references to sexuality and gender identity, will not be taught in Duval or Clay County schools, but administrators say they have other options.
The course has been a source of controversy because it contains references to LGBTQ+ issues which could be prohibited from being discussed under the Parental Rights in Education Act, commonly referred to as the “Don’t Say Gay” law, which was passed last year.
Instead of teaching AP Psychology, a program created by the College Board, leaders in Duval and Clay County public schools said they will offer other AP (Advanced Placement) courses where students can earn college credits in psychology.
″We have an option for every single one of our schools that is an accelerated weight credit that will earn college credits in psychology,” said Interim DCPS Superintendent Dr. Dana Kriznar.
Even though state education officials recently approved the AP course to be taught in its entirety, Krizar said she doesn’t want parents, students and teachers to be confused.
“There’s no question about whether it will be approved or not,” she said.
Kriznar said DCPS will instead offer either AP Seminar, IB Psychology or Cambridge Aice Psychology. She said some Duval schools also offer dual enrollment psychology and said the lion’s share of the responsibility will fall on the individual teacher.
“The burden is really going to be on our teachers, let’s acknowledge that. Cambridge ACE is going to be the course that we most use in our schools that don’t currently offer that. They’ve offered to come in and do training for our teachers at a really reasonable cost,” Kriznar said.
Duval County’s decision on AP Psychology comes on the heels of a back-and-forth dialogue between the College Board and the Florida Department of Education. It’s the College Board’s position that AP Psychology can’t be taught without including references to sexuality, while Education Commissioner Manny Diaz wrote in a letter, that the course can be taught in “a manner that is age and developmentally appropriate.”
Public school districts in Nassau and St. Johns counties will offer AP Psychology this school year. The Clay County School District will not offer AP Psychology but instead offer other course options through the AICE program (Cambridge) or dual enrollment.
Kriznar said taking the optional AP Psychology courses will not affect the AP exam or a student’s college credits.
“At the end of that course, my understanding in the past, regardless of the course you are taking, you could sit for the comparable AP exam. Taking Cambridge ACE Psychology does not preclude them for sitting for the AP exam. They can still learn that AP credit toward capstone or AP scholar,” she said.
In Nassau County and St. Johns County where AP psychology is being taught, school officials said the individual teacher will have to get their syllabus approved by the College Board to ensure the course qualifies for college credits.