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College Board Revises African American Studies Course; College Board Denies Stripping Down Course Due to Florida Law; Beyonce Tour and Ticketmaster. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired February 02, 2023 - 06:30   ET




DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: This morning, the college board unveiling a revised framework for its new advance placement course on African American studies. It covers 79 topics ranging from early African kingdoms to black Americans. achievements in science, music, and art. But critics are saying that the changes were made to appease Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who rejected the original curriculum last month.

Leyla Santiago, live for us in Miami.

Good morning, Leyla.

How does this newly revised version different -- differ from the original curriculum?


You know, the college board, those responsible for creating this program, will tell you that this revised version takes into account the feedback from students and teachers and experts that were engaged in the pilot program, not politicians. But it is that initial framework from the pilot program that Florida took issue with when it rejected the program last month. We're still waiting to hear from Florida if it will accept this new version to find out if AP African American studies will be taught in classrooms here in Florida.


MARVIN DUNN, HISTORIAN: Look at this traffic. For 42 years, not knowing this man was killed right here and (INAUDIBLE) history from that moment was never the same.

SANTIAGO (voice over): The man was Arthur McDuffie, a black father beaten to death by white police officers in Miami in 1979. When the officers were acquitted, riots followed.

SANTIAGO (on camera): So, it happened right here?

DUNN: Right here. SANTIAGO (voice over): It's places like this that are central to

historian Marvin Dunn's Teach the Truth tours, an effort to shed light on the history he says many students don't learn about in the classroom.

DUNN: There is now an effort in Florida to cherry pick history. And when you start cherry picking history, you need to make sure you don't have somebody doing that who hates cherries.

SANTIAGO: The latest controversy, on advanced placement African American study course. The college board, the non-profit that oversees the AP program, has now revised its official course work. Florida's Department of Education had rejected the initial proposal to the pilot course, saying it was, quote, inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value.

Florida's Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, up to this point, has been very critical of the pilot program.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): We have history in a lot of different shapes and sizes. People that have participated to make the country great. People that have stood up when it wasn't easy. And they all deserve to be taught. But abolishing prisons being taught to high school kids as if that's somehow a fact? No, that's not appropriate.

SANTIAGO: Last year, Florida passed legislation known as the Stop WOKE Act, championed by DeSantis. In part it barred instruction that suggests anyone is privileged or oppressed based on race or skin color. The state's objections to the AP course stemmed from proposed course work written a year ago for the pilot program. The Department of Education provided CNN with a copy of the curriculum they reviewed and the list of the state's objections, all related to Unit Four titled Movements and Debates. Concerns included black queer studies, movements for black lives, black feminist literary thought, among others, citing concerns about the works of specific authors and scholars.


DESANTIS: This course on black history, what are one of the - what's one of the lessons about? Queer theory. Now who would say that an important part of black history is queer theory? That is somebody pushing an agenda on our kids.

SANTIAGO: But in the newly released official framework, Unit Four does not include any of the authors or scholars that the state listed as a concern. Queer theory and Black Lives Matter still mentioned in the course, but only as ideas for potential student project topics.

We asked the co-chair of the development committee for the course if any changes were made because of the objections of the state of Florida?

ROBERT PATTERSON, AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDIES PROFESSOR, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: No. That - if -- if that were the case, if the state of Florida, or any state itself, could single-handedly alter the curriculum of African American studies, the AP African American studies course, or any AP course for that matter, it would actually undermine the integrity of the process that we have in place.

: I learned a lot.

SANTIAGO: CJ Footman, TJ Brown, and their moms, who live in Miami, say they've been waiting for a course like this. They all attended a Teach the Truth tour and say they wouldn't know as much about their own history if it weren't for the courses taught by Dunn.

CJ FOOTMAN, STUDENT: We learn about the same people every year, George Washington Carver, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks. I feel like it's just the same stuff being taught to us and it's kind of like, OK, they can know this, but that's it.

TJ BROWN, STUDENT: I feel like if we don't learn this history, it might just repeat itself. And it's going to keep going on and on. So, we have to learn it in order to stop it.

SANTIAGO: Some parents welcome the scrutiny. Omeshia Smith told us she wouldn't mind if her own daughter took the course, but some things, she said, are best taught at home.

OMESHIA SMITH, PARENT: Some things, like the queer studies, that may or may not offend some of the children, make them feel a little bit uncomfortable.

SANTIAGO: As for Professor Dunn, he's now part of a lawsuit against the state's Stop WOKE Law. Being uncomfortable, he says, is a part of learning and understanding the history that is often overlooked.

DUNN: It look like what had happened here. A man had been massacred at that - at this spot. But, listen, every community in this country has spots like this. Places where blacks have been abused, killed, and they've been forgotten about. This is not unique to Miami.


SANTIAGO: And the governor's office tells us the Department of Education is currently reviewing this new version to see if it complies with the law.


LEMON: All right, Leyla Santiago, in Miami, thank you very much.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: That was fascinating.

LEMON: It was.

HARLOW: So, let's talk about this and a lot more with CNN anchor and correspondent Audie Cornish.

Audie, good morning to you.

AUDIE CORNISH, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. HARLOW: So, let's start there on Leyla's reporting because the college board says this was all about pedagogical reasons, right? This is because of input from professors, et cetera. They even said at the college board, we cannot look to statements of political leaders.

What do you take from this?

CORNISH: I mean I've been listening to the college board president speak and he has said specifically that they have kind of time stamped records showing that they were already making sort of adjustments to this syllabus, so to speak. And one of the differences is, is that they wanted to focus on primary documents, right? The original documents of whatever they're talking about, rather than people's interpretations, essays, books, et cetera.

I think the broader context is that more than a dozen states have passed critical race theory, sort of anti-critical race theory laws over the last year or two. And so Florida could have been, may be, at the front of sort of a broader movement where people would be kind of more outspoken an more aggressive against educational institution that talk about diversity or equity or inclusion in history or any other context, frankly.

LEMON: You know, Audie, we had a similar conversation here on the set a couple weeks ago regarding the books, right, in Florida. A similar thing here. I just wonder, it's Black History Month and, you know, Leyla just mentioned in her story, and the gentlemen there talking about prison system, right? They wanted to outlaw or not teach about prison systems, which is very important when you look at the 13th Amendment and how that contributed to the prison industrial complex in America. These are things that I didn't learn and I win the an all- black catholic school. I wish it had been part of my curriculum. I didn't learn about it until I was much older and to watching Ava Duvernay's documentary or film "13th." I mean I didn't know about Bayard Rustin's impact on the civil rights movement, that he was an architect of the March on Washington and much of what Dr. King did. And he is a member of the LGBTQ community. Why is that so hard? Why shouldn't people learn about that in Florida and beyond? It's just mindboggling to me.

CORNISH: I think the broader sort of framing of this question is, what is the role of politics in our public education system? Who makes the decisions about what is history and what is not history?


And what does this mean for the Republican Party going forward if Ron DeSantis is moving towards a national movement? He's staking out ground that Trump didn't, right, in this area of education specifically. And there's a lot of history for the party there with George Bush, et cetera, where there was this idea that you could reach out to marginalized groups through education and through maybe the strains of conservatism there.

So, I think people should not look at it as, what's going on in Florida, that seems weird, they hate history, and more in the context of, where is the movement going that is against diversity? Where is the movement that is going against inclusion that finds these things offensive, that finds them racist, that is sort of counter arguing to it? How far will that national movement go?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: And it's really become this political tool because, I mean, you saw the Illinois governor, JB Pritzker, who we had on the show recently, he was, you know, saying don't change this course, don't modify it, because that's giving in to what he called the political grandstanding of people like Governor Ron DeSantis.

CORNISH: Yes. And this morning Don DeSantis was trending, right, on social media. I don't think it's an accident that it's Black History Month. This is very much kind of waving a flag in the air and saying kind of, look at me, I'm fighting the wars you want me to fight to a specific kid of voting demographic.

I think at a certain point, especially after we've just had this kind of beating death in Memphis, you are kind of also kind of raising the alert for maybe black voters who may, in Florida, start to see themselves under attack in this way and in others.

COLLINS: Oh, so you think it could potentially backfire?

CORNISH: I mean certainly he's got -- in Florida there was this effort to go after fake voters and actually arrest people who had somehow committed election fraud. Those cases were all dropped. It starts to look like you're targeting a community for exercising their rights. And I think young people will notice that as well.

COLLINS: Yes. Fascinating times to see what this -- how this is used going forward.

Audie, thank you so much.

CORNISH: Yes. Thank you for having me.

LEMON: It really is. When I got back from Memphis this weekend, I went to dinner with friends.


LEMON: Their 16-year-old son peppered me with so many questions about Memphis and Tyre Nichols.

HARLOW: Tyre Nichols.

LEMON: And as - these kids are -- they want to learn things, you know? And I just don't understand it. Your daughter --

HARLOW: Yes. Oh, I'm in the middle of this, Audie, right now, we have kids about the same age.


HARLOW: And I'm in the middle of, right now, my daughter's in first grade, is learning about racism and discrimination. And I'm fascinated by the way that her teachers are teaching kids about injustice. And she came home yesterday and asked me about Tyre Nichols, right? That came up. So, I am going through this right now.


HARLOW: And, Audie, appreciate your perspective, as always, so much.

LEMON: Thanks, Audie.


LEMON: Thanks, Kaitlan. We'll see in just a little bit.

We've got to get to this live event that happens every year.

Any moment now Punxsutawney Phil will make --

HARLOW: It's Groundhog Day.

LEMON: Oh, my gosh. Will make his prediction (INAUDIBLE).

HARLOW: Where is Bill Murray?

LEMON: Yes, where is Bill Murray?

HARLOW: Where is Bill Murray?

LEMON: By the way, I saw Bill Nye, the science guy, last night. That's a whole nother story, but -

HARLOW: Gosh. OK, well -

LEMON: Plus this.


BEYONCE, MUSICIAN (singing): Who run the world? Girls. Who run the world? Girls. Who run the world? Girls. Who run the world? Girls.


HARLOW: Queen B officially going on tour. Now concerns are growing about can Ticketmaster handle this one, next.




BEYONCE, MUSICIAN (singing): I'm feeling way too loose to be tied down. Can you see my brain open wide now? Came and get what I came for, hella night now. Know you love when I roleplay, who am I now?

(END VIDEO CLIP) HARLOW: Beyonce's highly anticipated world tour announcement being met with just as much concern from her fans maybe as there is excitement. Why? Because all eyes are on Ticketmaster following its botched ticket rollout for Taylor Swift's "Eras Tour," which you will recall was so bad. Not the tour, but the rollout of the tickets that the issue was even brought before Congress.

Let's discuss with CNN media analyst and "Axios" media reporter Sara Fischer.

Good morning.

LEMON: We need more music on the show. That just lifted my spirits. And I'm so glad that -

HARLOW: So, they could just keep playing it while we talk.

LEMON: Disco's had a huge comeback. I'm loving it.

But, anyway, I digress.

HARLOW: I'm just going to -- I'm going to get back on track here. No.


HARLOW: So, Ticketmaster had - I mean they were like hauled, Live Nation, before Congress, before the Senate. They've got to get this one right.

SARA FISCHER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: They have to. And they're making a few changes so that they can get it right. But I was looking this morning through the registration instructions for this concert and it's chaos.

So, first of all, you have to register just to be verified that you're a real person and not a bot. Remember, Ticketmaster said part of the chaos with Taylor Swift was that it was bots.


FISCHER: And then the other thing that you have to do is you have to wait to get an access code. So, even if you're verified as being a real person, it doesn't mean that you're going to necessarily be able to register for that first sale. Getting an access code will be done by a lottery system. So, it should be equitable.

And what they're trying to do is make sure that there's not too many people, all at once, trying to register. But once you get an access code, that becomes a first come first serve basis. And, Poppy, we know those computer crunches become really crazy at the first come first serve basis. That's what shut down Ticketmaster's website in the first place in November with Taylor Swift.

LEMON: You don't want to tick off -

HARLOW: What? LEMON: The Beehive and Swifties. I mean --


I was so proud of Taylor Swift's statement. You know, like, really taking on the machine.

FISCHER: You don't want to piss off these communities because they're so online.

LEMON: It's true. But at the Senate Judiciary they held a hearing. Is that going to - I mean -

HARLOW: Change anything?

LEMON: Do you think that will have any impact on any of this?

FISCHER: Yes. Yes.


FISCHER: Because Ticketmaster, as we talked about last time I was here, they merged with Live Nation in 2010 and the government approved that merger and then they re-approved what's little part of the agreement in 2020. But that comes up again in five years. And so if regulators think they don't handle these concerts properly, they could very well say, hey, the approval that we gave you to remain merged with your parent, that's over now. So there is real meat and real teeth here.

HARLOW: That's right, because of that consent decree.


FISCHER: Exactly.

HARLOW: That's fascinating.

Thank you, Sara, very much.

FISCHER: Thank you.

LEMON: We need to play more of Beyonce on this show.

HARLOW: Next, oh -

LEMON: Next.

HARLOW: You know this -- this is a great story.

LEMON: Is it?

A wild story. Wow. An adult coach posing as a student to play in a basketball game.


HARLOW: Yes. Told you.

LEMON: What? Come on.


LEMON: OK, so Poppy's really excited about this story. She's like, wait until you see this story.

HARLOW: I am. Who does this?

LEMON: This is sports. We're talking sports. Most basketball coaches do their work from the sidelines. But not the assistant coach at one Virginia high school. She got in the game and has now been fired. The 22-year-old was caught on camera wearing a team jersey and playing on the court. You see her blocking, dribbling, shooting, despite being old enough to drink.



LEMON: As a result, the JV team had to forfeit the game. Most of the other players you see there are between 13 and 15. Awe.

So, here's what the head of the Virginia high school league said about the matter.


BILLY HAUN, VIRGINIA HIGH SCHOOL LEAGUE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: We failed kids because we got a group of young ladies who now will not be able to finish their season because of the behavior of some adults.


LEMON: He said it all.

HARLOW: He did.

All right, next, President Biden heads to Capitol Hill this morning as the debate rages over the debt ceiling and police reforms.

Stay right here.