Thursday, October 02, 2014

Advanced Placement history course stirs debate

The content of the new Advanced Placement U.S. History course that is showing up in classrooms says more about those who put together the curriculum than it does about U.S. history, Jim Waters writes for Kentucky's conservative Bluegrass Institute. Some say the College Board's new framework has "anti-American biases," Rebecca Klein writes for the generally liberal Huffington Post. The College Board says this is not true, but some school districts may choose not to use the course.

Waters says the course has little information about important U.S. forefathers and portrays some great leaders and causes in senselessly negative light, but College Board President David Coleman said the new framework "does not remove individuals or events that have been taught by AP teachers in prior years," Klein writes. Some of the course's authors noted in a recent letter that some historical figures were not explicitly mentioned in the framework because they expect that teachers already know how to educate students about them.  The course is not intended to be students' first exposure to American history, and teachers are free to teach additional information along with the suggested framework, Valerie Strauss writes for The Washington Post. Waters argues that students will not need to know additional information for the test, so instructors might not be motivated to teach the extra material.

After teachers and professors showed concern about the new framework, The College Board decided to reexamine the course. "The new framework was developed by teachers and professors who received feedback from hundreds of other teachers," Klein writes. The organization released the practice exam for scrutiny to help alleviate concerns about course content. See the practice test here.

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