On Feb. 14, Gov. Phil Murphy announced the expansion of Advanced Placement African American Studies classes in New Jersey during a visit to Science Park High School with Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka during Black History Month.
The AP African American Studies class, which is 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.
Murphy and Baraka were also joined by the Acting Commissioner of Education Dr. Angelica Allen-McMillan and Roger León, the superintendent of Newark Public Schools, while visiting an African American History class taught by 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.
Allen-McMillan said, “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. 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.” She added, “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 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, six schools in Newark will offer the AP African American Studies class.
“In Newark, our African American History curriculum provides students the opportunity to explore primary and secondary sources that help students understand the history, contributions, talents, triumphs and continuing challenges of African Americans,” León said.
Read the full news release, which includes additional comments from the governor and other state and school leaders.