Ben Carson, a likely GOP presidential candidate in 2016, voiced his opposition to the new U.S. Advanced Placement History (APUSH) curriculum, stating that when a student completed the course they would be pretty much “ready to sign up for ISIS.” Conservatives around the nation have complained that the new history curriculum framework does not spotlight the United States’ achievements, nor does it mention some key historical figures. Carson and other APUSH opponents say it focuses primarily on what Americans have done wrong.
— Jen Caltrider (@caltrider) September 23, 2014
Drama has erupted over APUSH in the Jefferson County School District in Colorado over the new APUSH curriculum. A conservative school board member suggested looking over the APUSH curriculum before offering it to students. The proposal by the school board member said that teachers should avoid materials that “encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard the law.” Jeffco students considered this an attempt at censorship, given the wording in her proposal, and have been protesting against censorship for several days now. Still the school board member who proposed the review of the APUSH curriculum said that APUSH is the real censor, noting that Martin Luther King Jr. is not mentioned one single time in the 142-page APUSH curriculum outline but the civil rights movement is frequently mentioned, according to the LA Times.
— Charles Richter (@richterscale) September 26, 2014
Meanwhile, conservatives argue Thomas Jefferson, best known for drafting the Declaration of Independence, is mentioned in the outline of the course only one time and describes him only as a former colonist that “continued to possess wealth, power and influence” after the American Revolution. John Adams, who once wrote to his wife on his second night in the White House about the presidential home “May none but honest and wise Men ever rule under this roof,” appears in the same area as Jefferson. The two founding fathers, revolutionists who coincidentally both died on July 4, 1826, are given only a brief mention in the APUSH framework, according to Carson. The Republican National Committee passed a resolution stating that the APUSH framework was a “radically revisionist view of American history that emphasizes negative aspects of our nation’s history while omitting or minimizing positive aspects.”
However, the College Board, which owns APUSH, says that there is actually nothing anti-American about the curriculum framework. The board said that APUSH “dovetails with the Common Core State Standards for reading and writing literacy in history.” The board says that people are confusing the curriculum’s framework with the actual curriculum, according to the Washington Post.
“The AP U.S. History course is an advanced, college-level course – not an introductory U.S. history course — and is not meant to be students’ first exposure to the fundamental narrative of U.S. history. Because countless states, districts, and schools have their own standards for U.S. history teaching, we did not want to usurp local control by prescribing a detailed national curriculum of people, places, and events. As a result, we created a framework, not a full curriculum, so that local decision makers and teachers could populate the course with content that is meaningful to them and that satisfies their state mandates.”
What do you think of the new APUSH guidelines for advanced placement history?
[Photo by Utah State Library]