10 Montgomery Co. schools expected to offer AP African American studies course

Ten Montgomery County, Maryland, public schools are expected to pilot the Advanced Placement African American studies course next year, and Superintendent Monifa McKnight said she’s a proponent of the class.

A school system spokeswoman said MCPS is still finalizing the list of schools offering the course, but the College Board invited 10 high schools to participate.

In an interview with WTOP, McKnight said she’s “a big proponent of African American studies being supported and in our schools and in our school systems.”

“Educating our students is our primary responsibility, and to honestly educate them speaks to who we are and us being very transparent,” McKnight said. “And honestly — we have to model that for our students.”

The course has been thrust into the national spotlight after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he planned to ban high schools in the state from offering it.

Some Northern Virginia schools, including in Fairfax County, also plan to offer the course. But Gov. Glenn Youngkin ordered state education officials to review its contents to see if they violate Executive Order One, which bans inherently divisive concepts in schools.

Several Fairfax County School Board members have urged Youngkin to quickly approve the course.

At a CNN town hall last week, Youngkin said he has “no reason to believe, given the changes that I know had been made to that course, that it won’t be a fine course for Virginia, but I have to let our Department of Education do their job.”

McKnight, meanwhile, said students have increasingly become interested in the curriculum.

“Just to get to know who they are, and how they see themselves in history,” McKnight said. “That’s a big part of how our students establish thoughts about their self awareness of who they are, their value, how their culture contributes to that.”

She said if the school system is not “showing transparency in what we teach them, then why should they believe in it?”

Scott Gelman

Scott Gelman is a digital editor and writer for WTOP. A South Florida native, Scott graduated from the University of Maryland in 2019. During his time in College Park, he worked for The Diamondback, the school’s student newspaper.

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