UPDATE: Aug. 7, 2023: In another twist, Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. sent a letter to superintendents on Friday saying AP Psychology "can be taught in its entirety in a manner that is age and developmentally appropriate." Diaz added that "the course remains listed in our course catalog," according to the letter obtained by ABC News. A number of districts in the state, however, have already distanced themselves from offering the course in the fall, according to Politico.
- The Florida Department of Education has effectively banned school districts from teaching Advanced Placement Psychology, according to the organization that administers the course.
- The College Board said Thursday that Florida will not permit schools to teach sections on sexual orientation and gender identity, coursework the nonprofit describes as foundational.
- "Any AP Psychology course taught in Florida will violate either Florida law or college requirements," the testmaker said in a statement. "We advise Florida districts not to offer AP Psychology until Florida reverses their decision and allows parents and students to choose to take the full course."
In May, Florida pushed the College Board to modify the AP Psychology course and review all of its 40 AP courses to fit its state law — a request the company denied. The AP Psychology course specifically asks students "to describe how sex and gender influence socialization and other aspects of development."
In June, the College Board had made clear that it did not intend to modify the course. "Our policy remains unchanged," the organization said in an update on Thursday, calling the topics in question "essential."
Changing AP Psych in response to laws "would censor college-level standards for credit, placement, and career readiness," the College Board said.
Any class that does not include all prescribed coursework cannot be labeled as "Advanced Placement," "AP," or "AP Psychology" on student transcripts, it added. This "derails the college readiness and affordability plans of tens of thousands of Florida students currently registered" for the course.
College Board's stance was echoed by the American Psychological Association in June, when it said excluding the topics from AP Psychology would "leave students unprepared to continue studying psychology in college."
College Board’s longstanding AP Psychology course is one of the most popular in the state, with more than 28,000 Florida students taking it in the 2022-23 school year, said the organization.
With the new school year about to get underway, the College Board said “the AP Program will do all we can do to support schools in their plans for responding to this late change.”
This is not the first time the College Board and Florida have come to blows over coursework. Florida's education department earlier this year rejected the College Board's new AP African American Studies course, saying it ran “inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value.”
While the College Board did ultimately revise the framework for that course, it claimed it did so based on standard feedback during the course's pilot phase.
However, in light of Florida's request in May to review all AP courses including AP Psychology, the organization then said it had "learned from our mistakes in the recent rollout of AP African American Studies and know that we must be clear from the outset where we stand.”