Oklahoma Bill Would Ban A.P. U.S. History

The Oklahoma Legislature is considering a bill that would ban the teaching of Advanced Placement American History in the state’s public schools:

Some lawmakers in Oklahoma want to make Advanced Placement U.S. History history.

What’s their beef? The course, which was redesigned by the College Board and implemented in high school classrooms last year, isn’t quite pro-America enough.

“In essence, we have a new emphasis on what is bad about America,” said state representative Dan Fisher, the measure’s chief sponsor.

“(The new framework) trades an emphasis on America’s founding principles of Constitutional government in favor of robust analyses of gender and racial oppression and class ethnicity and the lives of marginalized people, where the emphasis on instruction is of America as a nation of oppressors and exploiters,” Fisher lamented at a legislative committee hearing Tuesday.

Not only does HB 1380 — which sailed through a committee hearing this week — bar state funds from being used on AP History, the legislation specifies what should be taught in the classroom by specifically identifying dozens of “documents, writings, speeches, proclamations and recordings related to the history, heritage and foundation of the United States” in the 10-page bill.

As Judd Legum notes, the Oklahoma initiative is just the latest example of what has been a somewhat odd reaction from the right to new standards for the Advanced Placement American History curriculum proposed by the College Board:

Opposition to the AP U.S. History test “can be traced back to retired high-school history teacher Larry S. Krieger.” On a conference call marshaling opposition to the test, Krieger said it offered “a consistently negative view of American history that highlights oppressors and exploiters.” Krieger teamed up with Jane Robbins, an anti-Common Core activists. (Some, including Oklahoma lawmakers, have conflated the Advanced Placement test with Common Core.) They have their own website: http://opposenewapstandards.us.

Krieger, Robbins and others were successful in convincing the Republican National Committee to pass a resolution blasting the Advanced Placement U.S. History course, saying it “reflected a radically revisionist view of American history that emphasizes negative aspects of our nation’s history while omitting or minimizing positive aspects.”

In response, the College Board — a non-profit which creates the AP tests — said that the opposition was based on “significant misunderstandings.” Dan Coleman, the President of The College Board emphasized that the tests are actually written “by college professors and K-12 teachers throughout this country.” He also, in an effort to allay concerns, released a sample test.

The efforts have spurred attacks on the test in Georgia, North Carolina, Texas andColorado.

Perhaps what they want is to have the AP curriculum designed by Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin.

FILED UNDER: Education, Quick Takes
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. There problem is that the AP class expects them to actually teach United States History rather than United States Mythology.




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  2. Krieger complained that the framework portrays the Founding Fathers as “bigots”

    Here is the framework in question:

    AP United States History Course and Exam Description Including the Curriculum Framework

    Please point out to me something in the document that qualifies Krieger’s accusation as anything but an outright lie.




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  3. humanoid.panda says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Clearly the AP standards suppresses the evidence that the Founding Fathers fought slavery and eradicated it from the face of the Earth.




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  4. stonetools says:

    This really goes back to understanding that red America really has a fundamentally different vision of America-far more triumphalist ,more religion-based, and far more sympathetic to say, a Lost Cause view of the Civil War.The AP History-based as it is on a science and fact based understanding of history-challenges Red America’s vision of America and therefore must be rejected.
    This is a fight that’s less about America’s Past than about how Americans think about the present and whose vision of America’s future will prevail.




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  5. michael reynolds says:

    @stonetools:
    Indeed. For these people history is about faith, not facts. Much the same way they treat current events. Any conflict between their faith and reality must be resolved in favor of faith, hence their highly emotional rejection of global warming, evolution, the innate nature of gender, etc…

    The sad thing is that they propose to hamstring their children, shutting off various career options, killing their chances at a good university. They’re condemning their own children to the underclass. It’s nauseating, but it’s very Oklahoma.




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  6. James Pearce says:

    This is obviously stupid, but……

    When I was an AP History student back in 1995, there was “a consistently negative view of American history that highlights oppressors and exploiters.” I just thought it was my teacher.




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  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Yeah, and they intend to give a “Free Speech” award at CPAC to one of the Duck Dynasty boys (the Father I think) for uttering utterly pointless platitudes about…. something or other for a butt load of a hell of a lot more money than any public school teacher ever made, even as they try to restrict what teachers can or can not say in a school room.




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  8. @James Pearce:

    It may have been your teacher. Can you give an example from AP framework I linked to above of a place where you feel the framework itself is unduly negative? Or was the problem your teacher’s implementation of that cirriculum?




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  9. David M says:

    Oh GOP, is there anything you can’t ruin?




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  10. Tillman says:

    @stonetools: I think it’s less the imposition of a particular vision about America, and more about ignorance and preservation of authority. You’ll note they describe the history being taught in the AP class as revisionist, when any cursory glance over the curriculum (thanks Stormy!) is full of boilerplate history you could learn nearly anywhere. History articles on Wikipedia are comparable in the topics addressed, if not the depth a college class would explore.

    The thing they most object to, probably, is the descriptions in the curriculum of relatively recent history, centered around the ’60s and onward. They realize they were probably on the losing side of those cultural conflicts, and don’t want that taught.

    Never understood wanting take AP American History, myself. That’s why I went into AP European History (or AP Euro). Waaay more interesting.




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  11. DrDaveT says:

    Some lawmakers in Oklahoma want to make Advanced Placement U.S. History history.

    Some lawmakers in Oklahoma want to pander to their wingnut constituents.

    When it passes, we can bemoan whatever. In the meantime, it’s just pandering. Nothing to see here; move along…




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  12. Tyrell says:

    I remember two history teachers that made history exciting, and it really came to life. One was a Civil War buff who taught not only the soldiers, generals, battles, and tactics, but gave a lot of anecdotes and accounts that he had come up with from researching records, journals, diaries, and ledgers from when he was a graduate student in Louisiana. We had every battle and generals to memory. Imagine our fever pitched excitement when he came in with an authentic Civil War battle sword !
    The other teacher had served in the Army as a tank operator. He had gone into Germany at the close of the war. He brought in some officers that he served with and showed a lot of documentaries. He even had a lot of correspondence with some former German soldiers so we got a view of things on the other side.
    It seemed like history was far more interesting. We learned a wealth of facts and information, but it did not seem dull. It seems now from what I hear that the new history curriculum tries to avoid touchy topics. It seems like today we are in an age of ignorance when it comes to history. Most people today would not be able to give the main points of the Battle of Gettysburg, the events at Donner Pass, or the main issues of the War of 1812.
    I don’t know if the type of instruction I had could take place today.




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  13. James Pearce says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Or was the problem your teacher’s implementation of that cirriculum?

    The latter. It was in that class that I learned about “Small Man Syndrome,” which apparently was one of the main driving forces behind the founding of our nation.




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  14. @Tillman:

    The thing they most object to, probably, is the descriptions in the curriculum of relatively recent history, centered around the ’60s and onward.

    Look for example at the framework’s description of the civil rights movement:

    I. Seeking to fulfill Reconstruction-era promises, civil rights activists and
    political leaders achieved some legal and political successes in ending
    segregation, although progress toward equality was slow and halting.
    A. Following World War II, civil rights activists utilized a variety of
    strategies — legal challenges, direct action, and nonviolent protest
    tactics — to combat racial discrimination.
    B. Decision-makers in each of the three branches of the federal
    government used measures including desegregation of the armed
    services, Brown v. Board of Education, and the Civil Rights Act of
    1964 to promote greater racial justice.
    C. Continuing white resistance slowed efforts at desegregation,
    sparking a series of social and political crises across the nation,
    while tensions among civil rights activists over tactical and
    philosophical issues increased after 1965.

    That has to be one of the most milquetoast descriptions of what went on I’ve ever read.




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  15. Mikey says:

    “In essence, we have a new emphasis on what is bad about America,” said state representative Dan Fisher, the measure’s chief sponsor.

    Dan Fisher is active in an organization called the Black Robe Regiment, which one could charitably describe as theocratic. From its web page:

    The Black Robe Regiment is a resource and networking entity where church leaders and laypeople can network and educate themselves as to our biblical responsibility to stand up for our Lord and Savior and to protect the freedoms and liberties granted to a moral people in the divinely inspired US Constitution.

    Because there are so many mentions of the Divine in the Constitution, amirite?




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  16. Scott says:

    Nothing like teaching politically correct revisionist history. The right wing has totally soaked up Marxist political theory. Next they will be installing political officers in all institutions.

    Actually, I doubt this will stand. This will be costing upper middle class family actual money in that their college bound children will have to take these mostly mandatory classes in college and pay thousands for the privilege. That will piss them off.




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  17. Tyrell says:

    In looking over the outline, I did not notice some of these important events:
    The Lost Colony and its impact on colonization
    The age of pirates: famous pirates and how they affected shipping
    The War of 1812: I did not see it mentioned, yet it is one of the most important events in US history.
    The concept of “Manifest Destiny” was defined very subjectively. It would be better to study the statements of the leaders of the time, such as James Polk to get an accurate view of how they regarded the concept in real policy.




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  18. KM says:

    emphasis on America’s founding principles of Constitutional government

    This is called Civics, not History. History is the retelling of the past, not an explanation of theories or political principles. Sometime you have to elucidate on some because the listener is unaware of them in a way that the retelling requires but frankly anyone who’s made it to the AP should already have a firm grasp of these fundamentals. If Civics is not taught in schools, they should be raising a major fuss over that, not trying to shoehorn it into another subject. Every citizen deserves the right to know how their government works, doesn’t work, should theoretically work and how to change any of the above.

    Sounds like Representative Fisher needs a refresher course himself.




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  19. J-Dub says:

    Anyone interested in American history should read Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. The people of Oklahoma would be wise to open their eyes and pay some respect to the people that gave theirs lives so they could have a voice. They seem all to willing to hand back all the gains that their forefathers/mothers fought for. Subjugated fools.




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  20. Neil Hudelson says:

    @J-Dub:

    Zinn’s book provides a lot of good thought-pieces, but in the same way that Graham Hancock provokes thoughts on archaeology. It’s good exercise for your brain, but way too many people take Zinn’s work as close to gospel. A People’s History has as many issues as the traditional histories it purports to correct.

    Sam Wineburg at Standford had a good critique of it a few years back: http://www.aft.org//sites/default/files/periodicals/Wineburg.pdf




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  21. @Tyrell:

    The purpose of the framework is not to itemize every thing that is discussed in the class. It’s to outline the concepts that need to be covered and it’s up to the teacher to choose specific examples for discussing the concepts. For example, the age of piracy could be brought up during:

    Key Concept 2.1: Differences in imperial goals, cultures, and the
    North American environments that different empires confronted led
    Europeans to develop diverse patterns of colonization.
    I. Seventeenth-century Spanish, French, Dutch, and British colonizers
    embraced different social and economic goals, cultural assumptions, and
    folkways, resulting in varied models of colonization.

    That said, you list seems to be more focused on events that are interesting for dramatic reasons rather than events that are noteworthy for historical effects.




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  22. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Tyrell:

    The Lost Colony and its impact on colonization
    The age of pirates: famous pirates and how they affected shipping
    The War of 1812: I did not see it mentioned, yet it is one of the most important events in US history.

    While, like you, I share criticisms that history classes often glass over important-yet-boring periods of our history, I’m having a hard time finding much criticism in skipping these events.

    The Lost Colony didn’t really impact colonization in any meaningful way. There were plans for more colonies in the works before the disappearance, and those plans were executed. It is my understanding that we teach Roanoke more for its mystery than any real impact on history.

    The Barbary wars were notable for pushing Jefferson to create a foreign policy, but many subsequent events were far more important in shaping America’s place in the world.

    How is the war of 1812 one of the most important events in U.S. History? It was a foolish war that we half deliberately caused, half cluster-f*cked our way into, based partially on our greed for a foreign country’s resources. Unless you’re saying there were lessons we could have learned in order to avoid future unnecessary wars of greed that would greatly damage our reputat-oh nevermind, I get it.




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  23. PD Shaw says:

    @Stormy Dragon: “Please point out to me something in the document that qualifies Krieger’s accusation”

    Lincoln’s election on a free soil platform in the election of 1860 led various Southern leaders to conclude that their states must secede from the Union, precipitating civil war.

    No mention of tariffs. 😉




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  24. Ebenezer_Arvigenius says:

    @PD Shaw: Clearly another attempt by the fiendish Obummer administration to suppress public recognition of the patriotic tea party organizations.




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  25. Scott says:

    @PD Shaw:

    precipitating civil war

    It should read War of Northern Aggression.




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  26. grumpy realist says:

    @Tillman: I know that at least one state (NY) insists on American History as a prerequisite to graduation. One of the reasons I never got my high school diploma.

    (I’m tempted to run for POTUS just to hear the screams from the other side.)




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  27. @grumpy realist:

    I’m tempted to run for POTUS just to hear the screams from the other side.

    “WHO THE HECK ARE YOU!?!?!”




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  28. C. Clavin says:

    One of the things this guy Fischer wants taught is the Mecklenburg Declaration…a mythical document / event.
    What else?
    The Ten Commandments (Moses coming down from the Mount was a key moment in US History) 3 speeches by Saint Ronnie, one by Bush43 and zero from Democratic Presidents.




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  29. C. Clavin says:

    @grumpy realist:
    DR. GRUMPY ’16
    I’m in.




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  30. PD Shaw says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I think the issue is more in omissions and emphasis. Frederick Douglas is mentioned more in the framework than Abraham Lincoln. Key historic figures like James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, and Andrew Jackson are ignored. The emphasis is more on social history, and current interests like a “natural resources” framing.

    This is also an odd overview, thought not necessarily untrue, just odd:

    Reinforced by a strong belief in British racial and cultural superiority, the British system enslaved black people in perpetuity, altered African gender and kinship relationships in the colonies, and was one factor that led the British colonists into violent confrontation with native peoples.

    This implies slavery was a British invention, as opposed to a global state that persisted without popular moral quandary until the period of the American Revolution. It places the emphasis on the moral superiority of today’s enlightened people, while disregarding the material motivations. Forced white labor was dying in droves trying to clear land for settlement south of the Mason-Dixon line. It leaves no space for consideration of the Mansfield Case or the British banning of the slave trade, nor contemplation that it was often non-British Americans that were the most unwilling to comply with gradual emancipation laws. No, we are going to see these issues through the lens of British racial prejudice.




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  31. @PD Shaw:

    think the issue is more in omissions and emphasis. Frederick Douglas is mentioned more in the framework than Abraham Lincoln. Key historic figures like James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, and Andrew Jackson are ignored.

    From earlier in the framework:

    3. Gray boxes containing possible examples were inserted in the framework
    only where teachers reported uncertainty regarding what content they
    might choose to teach for a particular concept. These boxes indicate content
    that is relevant for a particular concept, but this content is illustrative —
    not mandatory.

    They don’t mention Madison, Franklin, and Jackson because they don’t have to, the teachers know who they are. They mention Frederick Douglas because apparently a lot of teachers don’t know who he is.

    This implies slavery was a British invention, as opposed to a global state that persisted without popular moral quandary until the period of the American Revolution.

    If anything, they blame slavery on the Spanish:

    In the economies of the Spanish colonies, Indian labor, used in
    the encomienda system to support plantation-based agriculture
    and extract precious metals and other resources, was gradually
    replaced by African slavery.

    You’re picking a piece out of context. They’re not saying the British invented slavery, but rather that under British rule, slavery developed into a distinct form that had a big impact on how the US developed as a nation.




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  32. Tyrell says:

    @Neil Hudelson: Thanks for the reply and comments. The War of 1812 was one of the strangest and most misunderstood affairs in US history. The young country was torched by British soldiers who came with a vendetta. James Madison was masterful in guiding what little he had to work with, since the army and navy was almost non-existent. Important issues such as territorial control of the northeastern seas and fishing grounds, native American issues in the Ohio valley, and the Canadian question were settled. It was a war no one wanted and few knew the main causes. One history teacher taught it to us as the Revolutionary Way II, in that it settled lingering issues from that conflict and it established firmly American sovereignty of its borders. That was the fascinating thing about my history classes. Many of the instructors would throw out their view and want us to challenge them. I once had a teacher from England who argued that if Britain had won the revolution that slavery would have been ended 100 years earlier and there would have been no Civil War, that the western territories west of the Mississippi would be under the province of the native Americans, and that the south would have mechanized their cotton production. Fascinating instructor. His favorite topic was “if Booth had missed”. He liked to have students argue with him, but you had better have your facts ready or he would rip you to shreds.




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  33. PD Shaw says:

    Spain shouldn’t be uniquely “blamed” for slavery either, though the piece goes too far in papering over Spanish violence: “Unlike their European competitors, the English [had] relatively hostile with American Indians.”

    That whole section is a series of racial stereotypes as a means of understanding colonization. And the British section sounds like it was written by Justice Taney. I would prefer that it had been written within the framework of Justice Curtis.




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  34. al-Ameda says:

    Oklahoma is not okay.




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  35. Tillman says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Continuing white resistance

    I get the idea they’re not happy being singled out, no matter how accurate it is.

    Also, the period describing 1980 to the present drastically contradicts received orthodoxy on social issues. Conservatives don’t want to be told they won some victories in the ’80s but lost on other things. Frankly, that whole section paints conservatism as just “one option among many,” which goes back to how I said they perceive the curriculum as undermining authority.

    Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty I don’t like about it. They present Iraq as “controversial.” That’s the blandest way to put it. The difference is, having taken an AP history course back in the day, I’m fairly sure the teacher will fill in relevant details. Then again, my AP Euro teacher was widely regarded as the best teacher at my high school.




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  36. PD Shaw says:

    @Tillman: Real history cannot be told until the participants are dead. The post 1979 section should probably be just discarded, particularly as most of it is just political argument. In my high school, we had a class called “Current Events” which dealt with those types of issues, not as history, but in terms of understanding the disputes and concerns of the day, foreign and domestic.




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  37. PD Shaw says:

    Unlike Spanish, French, and Dutch colonies, which accepted intermarriage and cross-racial sexual unions with native peoples, English colonies attracted both males and females who rarely intermarried with either native peoples or Africans, leading to the development of a rigid racial hierarchy.”

    This is confused. The English generally migrated to the new world as settlers with families, while the Dutch and French in particular, came largely as sojourners. The English did not bring wives because they didn’t want to have sex with native peoples; they brought wives because they far more often had families and no intention of returning. The English accepted intermarriage with native peoples. Pocahontas?

    A rigid racial hierarchy came as the result of the creation of a form of inheritable chattel slavery, which necessitated Virginia inventing the word miscegenation.




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  38. Tyrell says:

    @James Pearce: “Manifest Destiny!” “Manifest Destiny !”




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  39. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @KM: I can’t speak for other areas, but in the district I taught in, AP history was a replacement elective for Civics, U.S. Gov., Contemporary World Events, or whatever one’s schools call it. There may be an issue here; I don’t see it, but still…




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  40. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    That said, you list seems to be more focused on events that are interesting for dramatic reasons rather than events that are noteworthy for historical effects.

    THAT is the nature of edutainment–a principle mode of teaching history and literature in our schools.




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  41. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @C. Clavin: No, it’s real:

    The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence is claimed by some to be the first declaration of independence made in the Thirteen Colonies during the American Revolution.

    Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence – Wikipedia, the …
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mecklenburg_Declaration_of_Independence

    Important? Meh… but real




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  42. Tyrell says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: Students get hooked on history when it is exciting. Some of my favorite lessons: Andrew Jackson’s brilliant win over the British at New Orleans, Grant at Vicksburg, Teddy Roosevelt leads the Rough Riders to victory at San Juan Hiill, and the siege at Bastogne.




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  43. David in KC says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: agree on the importance, but claimed by some doesn’t make it real. Apparently the first published version was from 1819 and nobody has the original. So an unproven document with little to no historical is being pushed in Oklahoma. Sad thing is my Hephew lives down there. Sigh…




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  44. KM says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker:

    AP history was a replacement elective for Civics, U.S. Gov., Contemporary World Events, or whatever one’s schools call it. There may be an issue here; I don’t see it, but still…

    I have a couple of reasons why it’s not the best idea to combine them:
    (1) AP is optional and extra cost which means these subject being crammed into a pay-for-service course deprives other children of this information. Frankly, we need as many future taxpayers and voters to understand the system they live in, not less. Maybe then we’ll hear less BS like criticism=1st Amend violation and have less low-information voters.

    (2) AP is on the way out the door to college, the end of the road for some. Civics and US Gov should not be one and done but continuous throughout the process. We teach math throughout the educational timeline because it’s so basic; why don’t the rules and laws that govern their lives get the same level of attention? At the very least, introduce it young and revisit on the way out.

    (3) More topics means less time to cover said topics. You can do a few things well or a ton of things poorly. You can do a rushed bit on the 1st Amend as “freedoms” or you can spend time on what that freedom entails (and what it doesn’t) with the opportunity for true comprehension. It can be the difference between cementing the idea of “freedom” instead of “freedumb” in someone’s formative years.




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  45. C. Clavin says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker:
    Important words from that article:
    Claimed
    Supposedly
    Disputed
    No conclusive evidence
    Real or not…I agree with you on the importance of it.




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  46. Modulo Myself says:

    What drives these efforts is the conceded truth that intelligent people are fascinated by the good and the bad. That’s why war/rebellion/conquest are popular subjects. At a certain point the bad in American history seeped out of war and it’s spooked the s–t out of very conventional white men. That students might be fascinated by the genocide of Native Americans or by the oppression of blacks in this country makes no sense to a man who is fascinated by D-Day or Gettysburg. The rest of it is the total confusion in the American dream of democracy and self-sufficiency and submission to hierarchy and the fear of what might happen if you talk about it openly.




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  47. Rob Prather says:

    When I was in Junior High and 13, we were taught briefly about the Inquisition. I asked my priest about it and he was shocked that they would teach such a thing at all. There seems to be a similar dynamic at work here.

    Also, regarding the Inquisition, I head about it first from History of the World, Part 1.




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  48. Mikey says:

    @Rob Prather:

    I asked my priest about it and he was shocked that they would teach such a thing at all.

    Would you say he didn’t expect the Spanish Inquisition?




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  49. grumpy realist says:

    @Stormy Dragon: It would be lovely to see how far I could troll them….dangle the “high-school dropout” in front of them and see how much of a fuss I could generate.




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  50. grumpy realist says:

    @PD Shaw: Yeah, the English settlers just gave out measles-infected blankets instead….




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  51. Tyrell says:

    @Rob Prather: I found out about the Inquisition in a junior high school English class while reading “Pit and Pendulum” by Poe. Then I went to see the motion picture (American International films ) that starred the incomparable Vincent Price. After that I read everything I could find (not much) about the Inquisition and torture chambers. Our pastor told me that was all the doing of the Catholic church and that the Protestant church did not do stuff like that.




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  52. the Q says:

    PD Shaw wrote, “No, we are going to see these issues through the lens of British racial prejudice.”

    So there wasnt any British racial prejudice? The people that destroyed cultures and societies during the period when the “sun never set on their empire.”

    I will bet my life you are a white guy. You just will never understand the other side of the coin.

    Just ask our President.




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  53. Rob Prather says:

    @Tyrell:

    Our pastor told me that was all the doing of the Catholic church and that the Protestant church did not do stuff like that.

    As a matter of historical record, that is probably right, though Protestants have their own sins, like Martin Luther’s anti-semitism, etc.




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  54. PD Shaw says:

    @the Q:”So there wasnt any British racial prejudice?”

    A false choice fallacy, idiot.




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  55. PD Shaw says:

    @grumpy realist: “Yeah, the English settlers just gave out measles-infected blankets instead…”

    More focus on a Diamond, “Guns, Germs, and Steel” analysis would be preferable, but the Native American population began dying from disease long before European settlement, simply from incidental contact with explorers, hunters and fishermen. Possibly 95% of the Native American population in the Americas died within one hundred years of Columbus’ arrival. From that scope of change, the blanket story is barely a footnote.




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  56. Tyrell says:

    @PD Shaw: How about contact between the Vikings and native Americans ? We now have good research that the Vikings went much further south than previously thought, even to the Virginia -Carolina area. And how about recent evidence of Chinese travel to the west coast before Columbus.




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  57. PD Shaw says:

    @Tyrell: If we are talking about the area of English colonization, I think we must be talking about something in closer proximity. The Pilgrims arrived and found abandoned farm fields, making settlement far easier. The English and French had been fishing off the New England Coast for decades before, coming ashore for firewood or trade with the Natives. There is similar evidence that the Incas were conquered because small contact several years before Conquest.




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  58. James Pearce says:

    @Tyrell:

    And how about recent evidence of Chinese travel to the west coast before Columbus.

    Just saying…Gavin Menzies is full of shit.




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  59. @PD Shaw:

    In my high school, we had a class called “Current Events” which dealt with those types of issues, not as history, but in terms of understanding the disputes and concerns of the day, foreign and domestic.

    Yes, well, that would work for some topics, but that doesn’t fix the post-1979 issue. Even 9/11 is hardly a “current event” to today’s high schoolers (or today’s college students as I was reminded just this week). Certainly the Carter, Reagan, etc. eras are clearly part of history.




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  60. Devin Holman says:

    This is incredibly disappointing. From personal experience, APUSH was a course that really prepared me for college-level writing and critical thinking. The current writtings in American History, among historians, are not intended to diminish or belittle the exceptional aspects of American History. The current trend is to bring about a more holistic, and I would argue truthful, conversation about what has really occurred in America from the point of view of everyone affected by them. That means talking about nuanced, and at times unpleasant, events from the perspective of all the actors who took part and were affected by it. This history is not always exceptional, but it is truthful and it is American history. Giving students all the information and the critical thinking skills to evaluate it is, in my personal opinion, the most ethical way to approach American History.




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