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Friday, January 20, 2023


by Phyllis Frakt

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration has blocked a new Advanced Placement course on African American studies from being taught in high schools, saying it violates state law and is historically inaccurate. The state education department rejected the program in a letter last week to the College Board, which oversees AP classes. Florida education officials did not specify exactly what content the state found objectionable but said, “As presented, the content of this course is inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value.” …In a statement, the College Board said, “Like all new AP courses, AP African American Studies is undergoing a rigorous, multi-year pilot phase, collecting feedback from teachers, students, scholars and policymakers.”—AP, January 20, 2023. PHOTOS: From left to right: Poet and social activist Langston Hughes, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, and novelist Toni Morrison. All three are among the Black luminaries taught as part of a new AP African American Studies course that is being piloted in high schools across the U.S. Getty Images via TIME

I thought I was born at the perfect time
when fear yielded to democracy
and morality’s arc bent toward justice.
Hopeful they seemed, the sweet years between.
But now a time of conspiring tyrants
whose denials belie repeated crimes.
Facts scrapped for lies online and prime time.
I curse the reversal of sweet years between.
Skeptics deem all a delusion, a dream.
Grand claims of progress dismiss history
of morality deferred, justice rebuffed.
Deceived by smokescreen, those years between.
Some drag with doubt, some dare to dream,
I’m with still others, caught in between.

Phyllis Frakt, formerly an academic administrator, has moved from writing memos to writing poems. Her poem “Recoveries” (2022) appeared in Worksheets 67. Her poem “Teach to the Test" appeared in The New Verse News, also in 2022. She lives in New Jersey.