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Meet two local educators behind the new AP African American studies course

A high school classroom in Connecticut.
Dave Wurtzel
Connecticut Public
A high school classroom in Connecticut.

A new Advanced Placement, or AP, course on African American Studies is in its second pilot year in hundreds of schools, and set to roll out nationally next fall. AP classes offer high school students the opportunity to earn college credit. But the course's pilot rollout has been rocky, after it was rejected by the Department of Education in Florida and, more recently, in Arkansas.

This hour, we check in with two Connecticut educators who are helping to author the course, plus College Board executive director of communications Holly Stepp. Stepp reiterates that the changes being made to the course were not prompted or influenced by politics or by "any state." An updated course framework is expected to be released later this year.

Plus, the Connecticut State Department of Education recently approved a new set of standards for teaching social studies. We’ll get a sneak preview from advisor Steve Armstrong. Armstrong explains how these standards relate to several new changes to social studies education where we live, including a new Black and Latino Studies elective, and curriculum covering local Indigenous history.

Social studies consultant Steve Armstrong says, "I know that in some places, some people think that we should shy away from the difficult history... If you never tackle those difficult problems in the past, you'll never be able to tackle as difficult issues come up in the present and future."


  • Holly Stepp: Executive Director of Communications, College Board
  • Dr. Lisa Beth Hill: History Department Chair, Hamden Hall Country Preparatory Day School
  • Dr. David Embrick: Joint Associate Professor, Sociology Department and Africana Studies Institute, University of Connecticut
  • Steve Armstrong: Social Studies Consultant, Connecticut State Department of Education

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Katie is a producer for Connecticut Public Radio's news-talk show 'Where We Live.' She has previously worked for CNN and News 8-WTNH.
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