Flagler County’s two high schools will no longer offer AP Psychology to its students in the 2023-24 school year, according to a statement released by Interim Superintendent LaShakia Moore on Monday. The district, which was previously gearing up to offer the course and had already accepted enrollments, will be transitioning to IB Psychology as an alternative.
The decision comes after a highly publicized dispute over the course between its administrating body, College Board, and the Florida Department of Education. For multiple days last week it appeared as though the FLDOE would ban the course over LGBTQ-related content, particularly issues of gender identity and romantic orientation. Such topics are considered off-limits by the Parental Rights in Education law, a policy backed by Governor Ron DeSantis which banned many LGBTQ+ issues from being discussed in K-12 schools.
However, Education Secretary Manny Diaz issued a surprise potential reversal a few days ago, saying that AP Psychology could be taught in Florida in its entirety. Regardless, Flagler students will be losing out on the course for this upcoming school year due to a district decision.
For reference, AP stands for Advanced Placement, a series of college-level courses facilitated in high school by College Board. IB is International Baccalaureate, a similarly rigorous course facilitated by the nonprofit organization of the same name. In practice IB classes look through a more international lens on their given topic, according to academic experts, and possibly in more surgical focus on key events than AP. Both can count for college credit.
“This decision was made after careful consideration of prior coursework related to the study of Psychology completed by currently enrolled students,” said Moore in the statement. “While AP Psychology is currently still offered in Florida, we want to ensure that students have the opportunity to take the college-level Psychology course and exam for articulated credit, so Flagler Schools have opted to offer IB Psychology.”
Articulated credit means that completion of the course can potentially count for college credit, something that’s true of both AP Psychology and IB Psychology. Where the district finds the latter to be more useful toward that end is unclear.
All students who were enrolled in AP Psychology are being automatically enrolled in IB Psychology, a somewhat surprising move given the differences in academic culture and course design between the two. Still, many high school students who participate in AP have tended to gravitate toward IB.
With this in mind, Superintendent Moore has offered students and parents the chance to un-enroll in IB Psychology if they choose, available by contacting the applicable guidance counselor. Those with questions and concerns were also encouraged to contact the following faculty:
The district has been contacted for further elaboration on how the Florida Department of Education’s actions toward AP Psychology may have affected this decision, and any response will be added to this article for greater clarity.