LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Controversy over the AP African American Studies course in Arkansas is heating up and now making national headlines.
KARK 4 News first covered this story Monday after Arkansans learned the class would not be offered as an Advanced Placement course.
The Arkansas Department of Education has said that the class was not an AP class to begin with, but rather a pilot course.
The spokesperson for Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders also tweeted that the exam was not offered to students last school year and as a result, may not count as a college credit like other AP courses.
Additionally, she noted that there is a current African American History class that students can receive high school credit for and are even encouraged to take.
Meantime, the Little Rock School District announced the district would still offer AP African American Studies, explained in a letter from LRSD administration to stakeholders
“LRSD has taken a proactive step to recognize the importance of diversity and inclusivity in our curriculum,” the letter said in part.” As part of our commitment to providing a rich and comprehensive learning experience, we will continue with our plans to offer the AP course.”
While Little Rock School District noted that it would cover the cost of the AP exam for students, one Colorado woman is raising money for any other students that may be able to take the test but face the cost.
Mary-Katherine Keller started a GoFundMe for this purpose, noting that she wished she never had to in the first place.
“If students want to take this class, they should know that it’s going to be funded and they’ll be okay,” she said.
Keller pointed to a photo of Elizabeth Eckford, one of the Little Rock Nine who integrated Central High School, as her motivation for stepping up. Behind her, a white woman is yelling.
“There’s a really phenomenal photo of Elizabeth Eckford and Hazel Massery,” Keller said. “I think sometimes there are people that are the modern-day Hazel Massery that are screaming, but I think sometimes it’s not a scream but it’s just as damaging and what’s what I think what we’re doing right now.”
KARK 4 News received a statement from Arkansas Department of Education Spokesperson Kimberly Mundell:
“Until it’s determined whether it violates state law and teaches or trains teachers in CRT and indoctrination, the state will not move forward. The department encourages the teaching of all American history and supports rigorous courses not based on opinions or indoctrination.”
Keller added that if no schools need the money or any changes are made by the state or AP College Board, the GoFundMe money will be given to Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance.