College Board announces exciting New AP Course

Pastor Matthew Best
3 min readFeb 2, 2023

College Board Communications

February 2, 2023

Today, the Advanced Placement Program delivered its long-planned release of the official framework for the AP Cruelty Studies course. The official framework has been under development for nearly five years.

“We’re truly excited to offer this course,” said Jerome Sellers, College Board Communications Specialist. “Cruelty is an ongoing project in humanity as evidenced in our politics, religion, policy, entertainment, health care, and so much more. The real challenge of this course is trying to figure out the small percentage of what to keep in. There’s just so many options and examples in history to choose from, and that’s just in the 21st century.”

“AP Cruelty Studies can’t possibly cover the full range of how humanity’s cruelty knows no bounds throughout history,” said Ken Powers, College Board VP of Curriculum. “For that we would recommend an advanced college degree program and even then, I don’t think that would possibly cover it all. But you could look at one part of cruelty. For our purposes, we’re taking a look at an overview of cruelty so that students can see that for some people in positions of power, cruelty really is the point. We want students equipped to identify what’s going on and be able to get these deranged folks some help before they hurt anyone else.”

AP Cruelty Studies is an interdisciplinary course that draws on a variety of fields — contemporary history of Florida and Texas, Immigration Policy of the last decade, Evangelical political and theological statements from 2015 forward, Social Media memes and posts that you can’t believe are true but actually are, Political polarization at the Thanksgiving table, Bumper stickers and flags on vehicles, and more.

To develop the framework, the AP Program had a staff of five pay attention on a daily basis to life in America for five years. Throughout that period, the staff was not allowed to comment or interact with anyone else as they created the curriculum. This rigorous approach created a high-level, high-quality course. However, being exposed to that much cruelty does come with a cost and the College Board prepared in advance for this — having a team of doctors, therapists, and other trained professionals on hand as needed for the staff. “We’re pleased to say that all five of the staff came through this process,” said Dr. Mary Wells, Executive Vice President for Health of the…



Pastor Matthew Best

My name is Matthew Best. I’m an ELCA (Lutheran) pastor who attempts to translate church and churchy stuff into everyday language.