Gov. DeSantis floats ‘open market’ competing with College Board’s Advanced Placement offerings

Florida Politics | By A.G. Gancarski | February 27, 2023

High school students will have ‘adequate opportunity to get college credit,’ but the mechanism remains unclear.

Gov. Ron DeSantis continues to recalibrate his rhetoric regarding the future of Advanced Placement courses.

In comments made in Lake Buena Vista, the Governor suggested an “open market” may be in play, where the College Board is compelled to compete with other institutions that allow ambitious high school students to get college credit.

Gone was the fiery culture war rhetoric, perhaps suggesting that a wholesale overhaul and elimination of those programs is not in the cards, as was hinted earlier this year in the immediate wake of a dispute over an African American Studies Advanced Placement course proposal.

“Viewing the relationship with the College Board, we really like when students can get college credit in high school. We’ve expanded things like dual enrollment. But I think what I’ve just noticed is that Florida has subsidized this one company, College Board, when there are other companies that I think want to compete. And so I think what we’re looking to do is have more of an open market to where schools can pick the best way for college credit,” DeSantis said.

It’s unclear what an “open market” means in this context, and he likewise did not elaborate on what he means by the allegation that the state “subsidized” the College Board.

DeSantis then moved on to reassuring potentially restive parents who may have been counting on Advanced Placement classes to lower the coursework students had to deal with as undergraduates.

“I think people can rest assured that, you know, if you send your kid to high school in Florida, you’re going to have adequate opportunity to get college credit, because I like the fact that people can go to our state universities and they can graduate in two or three years sometimes because they’ve been able to get college credit,” DeSantis said.

“Sometimes with Advanced Placement, sometimes with International Baccalaureate, sometimes with the Cambridge exams, sometimes with dual enrollment — there’s a bunch of different ways that you do it. But I do think that’s good because it saves students money if they’re able to graduate earlier and allows them to get on with their lives, if that’s what they want to do.”

DeSantis avoided posing the rhetorical question of “who elected” the College Board Monday, a break from more confrontational press conference remarks earlier in February, where he suggested it was unclear that “this particular operator is the one that’s going to need to be used in the future” and that there would be moves to “reevaluate” the relationship.

He also avoided now familiar denunciations of the disputed African American studies course where he complained about “queer theory” and “neo-Marxism” being made part of the curriculum.

For its part, the College Board has said the state’s critiques were “absent of substance” and driven by “political agenda,” full of “vague, uninformed questions like, ‘What does the word ‘intersectionality’ mean?’ and ‘Does the course promote Black Panther thinking?’”

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