The popular Advanced Placement Psychology course is again being offered at Hillsborough County’s public high schools, district officials said Monday.
In the week before classes began, more than 1,800 students were told they would have to change to a Cambridge International version if they wanted to take the course.
That’s because College Board, the organization that administers AP courses and tests for college credit, said state officials were asking for changes and deletions that would have changed the course too dramatically.
Of particular concern were lessons about gender identity and sexual orientation. There was fear among school officials that this material could be seen to conflict with new state laws that limit class discussion on sexual topics.
But as word spread about the dispute, state leaders put out a series of statements saying schools had never been stopped from offering the course. The second of the two statements made it clear that there would be no problems with the gender identity lesson.
“We wanted to make sure we had all the information,” spokesperson Tanya Arja said, describing the confusion last Wednesday, the night before Hillsborough schools opened to more than 200,000 students.
Since then, she said, “we have received the assurance that we can teach the class and it does abide by state law. Basically, schools that offered it before can offer it again.”
Arja said the district has notified principals of the 19 affected high schools. They are now expected to tell students and their parents about the decision.
Although the teachers had planned to offer the Cambridge class, “they’re AP Psych teachers,” Arja said. “So they will just continue with what their plans were at beginning of the year.”