Republicans are always talking about how the government is way too involved in the American education system. So it’s completely logical that the Republican National Committee (RNC) took the time to write a resolution condemning the new Advanced Placement (AP) U.S. History curriculum.
They’re concerned that the new framework, “reflects a radically revisionist view of American history that emphasizes negative aspects of our nation’s history while omitting or minimizing positive aspects.”
For example, the RNC thinks that 17th-century colonists should be seen in a mostly positive light — and that students should not be taught about the consequences of American colonialism.
The RNC also criticized the curriculum’s framework for not including enough about the Founding Fathers, the Declaration of Independence, the role that religion played in forming the United States, and important battles and military heroes.
The critics complained that they weren’t able to view sample tests, which is a standard practice, and that everything in the curriculum is required knowledge, meaning that students are not going to be tested on anything outside the framework.
The RNC asked that the College Board delay implementing the new framework for a year, and that a new framework be developed that allows students “to learn the true history of their country.”
It also requested that Congress and state legislatures investigate this curriculum, and that Congress withhold any federal funding to the College Board until the framework is revised.
The RNC isn’t the only conservative group that has a problem with the way history is being taught. American Principles in Action and Concerned Women for America wrote an open letter to the College Board, condemning the curriculum’s “consistently negative view of American history,” which highlights “oppressors and exploiters while ignoring the dreamers and innovators who built our country.”
The letter also complains that “colonists are portrayed as bigots who developed ‘a rigid racial hierarchy.’” So basically they have a problem with the fact that the curriculum will teach students that slaves and Native Americans were still oppressed after the American Revolution.
The groups are also upset with the framework’s portrayal of Manifest Destiny as something that “was built on a belief in white racial superiority and a sense of American cultural superiority,” and that the curriculum focuses too much on some of the negative aspects of World War II, such as the use of atomic bombs and Japanese internment camps.
The College Board is taking this criticism seriously. College Board president David Coleman released a practice AP U.S. history test to the public, and announced that he will soon issue “clarifications” about the framework.
College Board spokeswoman Carly Lindauer told Education Week that the curriculum “is built to be flexible.”
“The new course emphasizes the American founding documents and their essential role in our nation’s history, and recognized American heroism, courage, and innovation,” she said. “College Board leaders continue to meet with individuals who have concerns about the redesign to listen and receive feedback.”
This isn’t the first time that the RNC has spoken out about education. Last year, it denounced the Common Core education standards, not just because they thought it was a government overreach, but because they believed a Glenn Beck-promoted conspiracy theory claiming that Common Core would collect personal student data from lab experiments.
Photo: Pesky Library via Flickr
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