Advanced Placement African American Studies is a new course offered at high schools across the country, including four schools in the Nashville area starting next fall.
“African American studies, that course was first offered as a pilot for a year or so, this is the second year for the pilot,” Metro-Nashville public schools director Emily Munn said. “Next year we should have it in three, maybe four schools.”
The course was created to teach more about African American history in the country including the diaspora, freedom, enslavement, resistance, movements and debates and Nashville schools are some of the first to take on the course.
“This course has been highly sought after and has stirred up lots of good interest,” Munn said.
But the course is not loved by all.
It was scrutinized publicly by Florida governor Ron DeSantis over the pilot, yet the Metro-Nashville schools haven’t seen much backlash.
“We haven’t had any backlash that I know of,” Munn said. “We can just hope that people will see as this is part of our history and part of our story. We wouldn’t want to do anything to tarnish our celebration.”
The excitement for the class has helped Metro-Nashville teachers receive training to teach the course.
Metro-Nashville public schools aim to offer as many relevant courses as possible to help deepen students' knowledge on the topic.
“We want as many accessible, relevant courses as possible,” Munn said. “We do whatever we can do to offer a suite of courses to offer advanced academics.”
The AP college board has also ensured that the course will prepare students with material that fits with college classes, Munn said.
Belmont does not currently offer credit for this class, but has acknowledged the need to review what AP courses they accept as new courses continue to be taught, said associate professor and head of Bellcore Nathan Griffith said.
“We’ve got the question, people are trying to figure it out, but that’s about where we are,” Griffith said.
First, Belmont must decide whether it will accept the class for any credit, then decide whether the credit goes into a particular class or if it is a free elective, as Belmont currently does not have any consistent classes that directly correlate with African American studies.
The delay in this process is not because of the subject, rather just the time and energy that is put into deciding whether the class should be worth credit, Griffith said.
“The not accepting it has nothing to do with the subject matter,” Griffith said.
Still, Metro-Nashville schools are preparing for this course and have emphasized the need for these classes with multiple, different perspectives to prepare students for college.
“I’m just excited for the content we are going to give with a more global perspective or a broader scale of perspective,” Munn said.
This has been supported by the school boards and Nashville in general as the schools move into teaching AP African American studies.
“Our district is excited to have this opportunity next year to have this pilot and excited to participate in this course,” Munn said.
This article was written by Maya Burney