The New AP (advanced placement) U.S. History course outline and standards have been released. All AP U.S. History classes will follow the outline starting this school year 2014-2015. History teachers and historians are up in arms. Many feel that the new AP standards reflect an anti-American, leftist agenda. Gone are the heroes of American history and America’s triumphs. They have been replaced by highlighting every act of racism and genocide the U.S. has ever committed. While it is important to acknowledge the dark side of history, it should not be the focus of an all-encompassing curriculum like AP U.S. History. “Did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts…” Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here.
All the uproar
The complete outline for AP U.S. History is available for download at the College Board website. What is noticeably missing are references to the majority of the Founding Fathers. George Washington is given a passing reference or two. However, they are implicated as founders of slavery, a practice which was in place hundreds of years prior to their birth. The U.S. involvement in WWII is reduced to the Japanese internment. Forget D-Day and the war on Hitler’s genocide machine.
People tied to education, like Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars, have nothing but negative things to say about the new AP U.S. History course. Wood calls the new framework “a briefing document on progressive and leftist views of the American past,” one which “weaves together a vaguely Marxist or at least materialist reading of the key events with the whole litany of identity group grievances.”
Stanley Kurtz, a well-known conservative author, makes the following statement in his article written for National Review Online, “We are witnessing a coordinated, two-pronged effort to effectively federalize all of American K-12 education, while shifting its content sharply to the left.”
AP U.S. History and Common Core
The fact that the new history standards deeply reflect Common Core standards is not surprising. All AP exams and course outlines are designed by the College Board. David Coleman, founder of Common Core, is the current president of the College Board. Opponents claim that the new framework tips Coleman’s hand about what is really driving Common Core—an anti-American, leftist agenda.
Are the conspiracy theorists right or is the new framework a true improvement over the old? Take a look at who is screaming the loudest. This time, it is the history teachers and scholars of U.S. history. These are not the usual conspiracy theorists. Perhaps it is really a power grab by the College Board.