Duval Schools will once again allow high schools to offer the Advanced Placement Psychology course, another switch after two weeks of confusion.
The decision follows flip-flopping statewide about how Florida’s new bans on instruction about gender identity and sexual orientation would affect students’ eligibility for college credit for the course.
Last week Duval Schools transferred the 1,100 students enrolled in the class districtwide to other college credit courses, including AP Seminar and Cambridge/AICE Psychology classes. Now, schools can choose to switch back.
“On Monday, Duval County Public Schools received assurance from the College Board that students in our district and throughout Florida will be able to sit for the AP Psychology exam and earn college credit upon approval of the teacher syllabus covering all required content, including gender-related topics,” the district wrote in an emailed statement Tuesday.
The ban last week came after the College Board, which creates the course, recommended that districts drop the course unless Florida changed its content bans, warning that altered versions of the course would not be eligible for college credit.
Florida did not change any of its rules or laws, though Education Commissioner Manny Diaz sent a letter to superintendents authorizing the AP Psychology course’s section on gender identity and sexual orientation. However, he did not explain how teachers can cover the topics in compliance with the state rules.
Interim Superintendent Dana Kriznar told School Board members about the about-face during a workshop Tuesday morning. She said she’s been in consistent dialogue with the College Board and Florida’s chancellor of education, Paul Burns.
“Last night, we got correspondence from the College Board that they would accept our teacher syllabus, as they would not be looking at individual lesson plans and that we could receive it for credit,” Kriznar told the School Board. “There’s no risk to our students or to our teachers in terms of it not being credit-bearing if they pass the assessment at the end.”
The College Board’s letter said districts could feel confident about teaching the class, even the portions about gender identity and sexual orientation.
“On August 9th, we received clear guidance that AP Psychology can be taught in its entirety, providing Florida educators, parents, and students the certainty they need,” the letter said. “We know the past few months have been difficult and confusing. Our goal throughout has been to ensure that the course remains available and can be taught in full.
The College Board said schools concerned about lost instructional time could use the late exam date for AP Psychology, scheduled for May 22, as their standard testing date. Standard testing is scheduled for May 9.
Ten district-run schools and one charter school in Duval County were offering the course before the district pulled it last week. Now, it’s up to principals to decide whether to bring it back.
“Schools are not required to revert to AP Psychology. Principals will work within their school communities to determine the best course of action for their students,” the district said Tuesday.
Like Duval, the Clay County school district decided last week to eliminate AP Psychology. The district said Tuesday that it will stick with that decision.