Conservatives press the case against the new AP framework for US history

Historians in the News
tags: APUSH



In an effort to prop up its anti-American history curriculum rewrite, the College Board has started a proxy war. Its staff have been marshalling their contact lists and holding private meetings to prompt education pundits and professors to publish articles defending a low-quality, high-animosity curriculum shift. But the College Board’s defenders employ half-truths and untruths.

State board of education members in Texas and state legislators in Tennessee are spearheading a national movement to roll back the new AP U. S. History (APUSH) Framework. The College Board, the creator and owner of this curriculum, has responded so far not with real changes that address the problems inherent to their rewrite, but with talking points. Everyone knows talking points are a superficial substitute for real answers. But if talking heads repeat a canned answer enough times, the public might be duped into accepting it as a fact.

What This Is All About

We began our critique of the College Board’s redesigned APUSH Framework back in March. This is the U.S. history course that half a million of the nation’s brightest high school students take every year. For most students this is their first and last formal encounter with a comprehensive U.S. history course. The Framework document defines what the end-of-course exams will include and therefore what successful teachers must cover and successful students must learn. As with all AP courses, which are now a staple of U.S. high schools, students can typically earn college credit for exemplary exam performance.

Instead of resorting to talking points, we documented our warning that “a dramatic, unilateral change is taking place in the content of the APUSH course.” We labeled the change a “curricular coup” because the new Framework replaced the previous and long-used five-page Topic Outline with its detailed (and growing) 142-page document that “defines, discusses, and interprets” what the College Board calls “the required knowledge for each period.”

The redesigned Framework usurps state curriculum standards by unilaterally decreeing what students should know with no public input or consent. State standards across America, while including the dark events in American history, also celebrate our nation’s founders, core values, and heroic servicemen and women. In contrast, the College Board’s “required knowledge” inculcates a consistently negative view of American history that focuses on identity group grievances, conflict, exploitation, and examples of oppression...




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