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Gov. Murphy announces expansion of AP African American studies in New Jersey

NEW JERSEY – Governor Phil Murphy Tuesday announced the expansion of Advanced Placement (AP) African American Studies classes in New Jersey during a visit to Science Park High School during Black History Month.

The AP African American Studies class, which is currently in its first stage of a two-year pilot program across the country, will be taught in 26 New Jersey high schools during the 2023-2024 academic year. Currently, the class is offered in one New Jersey school out of 60 nationwide.

This announcement underscores the Governor’s commitment to leading the nation in public education while promoting access to educational opportunities that offer students a strong foundation for future success.

Governor Murphy and Mayor Baraka were also joined by the Acting Commissioner of Education Dr. Angelica Allen-McMillan and the Superintendent of Newark Public Schools Roger León while visiting an African American History class taught by Mr. Alnazir Blackman, who will teach AP African American Studies at Science Park High School in the next academic year.

“The expansion of AP African American Studies in New Jersey will grant our students the opportunity to learn about the innumerable ways in which Black Americans have shaped and strengthened our country,” Murphy said. “As governors like Florida’s Ron DeSantis prioritize political culture wars ahead of academic success, New Jersey will proudly teach our kids that Black History is American History. While the DeSantis Administration stated that AP African American Studies ‘significantly lacks educational value’, New Jersey will stand on the side of teaching our full history. We will set an example for the nation by demonstrating to our future leaders that our country is the greatest in the world because it is a work in progress, a promise, and an ideal we strive to achieve.”

“African American history has been enshrined in our statewide social studies standards since the 1990s, and subsequently codified in law with the passage of the 2002 Amistad legislation that requires New Jersey schools to incorporate African American history into social studies curriculum,” said Dr. Angelica Allen-McMillan, Acting Commissioner of Education. “In New Jersey, we strive to fearlessly and honestly provide our students with the richest and most expansive instruction possible – one reason our public schools consistently rank among the best in the nation.  Recognition of New Jersey high schools that have implemented Advanced Placement African American Studies is an additional milestone in our journey in providing robust resources and education excellence in African American studies.”

The school visit today also highlighted Newark School District’s continued leadership with respect to expanding African American History education. Since 2020, the district developed and launched new curriculum including units of study for K-11 that focus on Black History. In the 2023-2024 academic year, 6 schools in Newark will offer the AP African American Studies class.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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