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OCPS Drops AP Psychology Class

Psychology teacher, Mr. Saul Laird, teaches his Cambridge Psychology class.

   College Board’s AP Psychology course was dropped by OCPS over concerns that the class would be in direct defiance of newly passed legislation that bans the instruction of sexual orientation and gender identity in Florida.    

   The decision was made after Florida’s Department of Education informed the College Board that “teaching foundational content on sexual orientation and gender identity is illegal under state law.” A decision that was in conflict with the course’s content.    The course includes  lessons regarding sexual orientation and gender identity that have been included in AP Psychology since it was created 30 years ago. The College Board argued that excluding the lessons — which it describes as teachings on “how sex and gender influence socialization and other aspects of development” — “would censor college-level standards.”

   In response to the ban, Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr.sent a letter to superintendents later in the week making it clear AP Psychology can be offered in its entirety in K-12 public schools. But many counties are still not offering it. Instead the students have been enrolled in alternative classes such as  IB Psychology and Cambridge Psychology.

   Many students expressed frustration about the removal of  the AP course. “I wanted to take that class so I could major in psychology in college, but now I have to take other classes that aren’t as high level, which is  annoying. I’m taking both of the alternative classes now,” said sophomore Isabel Reymann.

   With little time to sign up for different courses, many students found themselves without an advanced placement course. “I found out this summer, it happened right before school started. I was disappointed because it was the first AP class that I wanted to take that was more challenging,” said senior Kathya Torres.

   While the new courses offer the potential for college credit, not all universities accept the exam scores as they did for AP.  “I don’t think it’s fair to students- or teachers especially for this to come out one week before school. There are students who were wanting to take this course for college credit and now they’re kind of scrambling on what to do. It’s upsetting that we didn’t get a more advanced notice,” said psychology teacher Mr. Saul Laird.

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