Staff Editorial: New course being offered

AP African American history proves beneficial


Scott Schmidt

Social studies teacher Emma Engebretson teaches freshman civics Feb. 16. Next year Park will add a new AP African American studies for seniors.

With the upcoming 2023/2024 school year, a new history course has been approved to be piloted at Park — AP African American Studies brings new perspectives and opportunities. The course has been piloted over the country throughout this past year, but not every state is accepting it. Upcoming seniors at Park will be able to take this course starting next year.

Many on the Echo Editorial Board said they would consider taking this course. The Board believes this course would educate them about important history. The Echo Editorial Board believes that this is a fantastic and long overdue course option, and taking the course would help to shed light on new points of view.

Overtime, this course will grow in popularity and many will take it. In an attempt to promote this new course, the Board believes having students promote it in coming years would be beneficial. Having students present and express what would be taught can help intrigue students to register for the course. Oftentimes, not enough information is presented about courses during registration. But, if a group of students who were educated about the course’s content were presenting what the class would look like,  this could help to get more students intrigued and potentially sign up. Teachers can also contribute to promoting the course in slideshows and emphasizing it being a new course. 

Although the course is important, it is new. The fact that it is a new course might scare students away. The Echo Editorial Board believes students are much more likely to take other history options their senior year like AP psychology, because it has an easier AP test. When registering for classes, students often get their information from students who had taken the class previously. When registering for this course, since it is very new, no one would be able to explain what the workload and tests would look like. Also, because classes such as AP European History have been taught for longer, teachers have learned how to set students up for success. With AP African American History being new, teachers won’t have as much experience in preparing their students, which could be a factor when deciding to take the course. 

Members of the Echo Editorial Board hope that this course will be able to offer a new perspective. Classes like AP European history or AP US History, while important, frequently offer the same eurocentric perspectives to the same few moments in history, and many members of the Board hope that this course will go more in depth, with its content and perspectives. Additionally, the question of who would be teaching this course remains. The social studies teachers at Park are predominately white. Incorporating teachers of color is a large contributor to how information is delivered to students, and the Board believes that Park should factor that in. 

In the upcoming years, the Board believes that offering this course as an option for sophomores or juniors may make more sense. Currently, sophomores are offered AP European History as an alternative to AP World History. However, neither of these courses offer accurate depictions of different perspectives.

The Echo Editorial Board unanimously believes that Park should make efforts to promote this class more so that students will know more about it and be more open to choosing it.