Here's one for the history books: The Advanced Placement course in U.S. history –– a test that awards college credit to its high school passers –– will look a little different starting in the 2015-16 academic year.
According to Newsweek, the College Board is revising the standards of the course after receiving significant criticism from conservatives that the test "painted American history in too negative a light." Chief among the complaints was that there was too much focus on historical events like slavery and not enough on The Founding Fathers and America's victory in World War II.
Prominent critic of the AP standards and Presidential-hopeful Ben Carson last year said "most people” who complete the course would then be “ready to sign up for ISIS." Republican State Senator William Ligon called the exam "a radically revisionist view of American history that emphasizes negative aspects of our nation's history."
Ted Dickson, a teacher at Providence Day School in Charlotte who helped revised the standards, told Newsweek that while mentions of the word "slavery" had been reduced to avoid repetition, "we did not reduce coverage of slavery overall.” Good to hear that it's still in there!
Curiously, this updated standard will not require new textbooks and the test –– which will be administered in May 2016 –– has already been written.
Last year, in response to AP's standards, the Republican National Committee called for changes (emphasis ours):
WHEREAS, the Framework includes little or no discussion of the Founding Fathers, the principles of the Declaration of Independence, the religious influences on our nation’s history, and many other critical topics that have always been part of the APUSH course; and
WHEREAS, the Framework excludes discussion of the U. S. military (no battles, commanders, or heroes) and omits many other individuals and events that greatly shaped our nation’s history (for example, Albert Einstein, Jonas Salk, George Washington Carver, Rosa Parks, Dr. Martin Luther King, Tuskegee Airmen, the Holocaust); and
WHEREAS, the Framework presents a biased and inaccurate view of many important events in American history, including the motivations and actions of 17th -19th -century settlers, American involvement in World War II, and the development of and victory in the Cold War;
The College Board will also be adding the phrase "American exceptionalism" to the course. Newsweek notes that the College Board had "previously assumed it wasn’t something it needed to spell out as part of what would be taught in an American history course."
Shows what the The College Board knows!
Newsweek has added the following update to their story: "Correction: This article incorrectly stated the new guidelines reduced the mentions the word "slavery" from last year. There are roughly the same mentions in both documents."
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