I wrote a couple of weeks ago in “Are new standards enslaving the Gettysburg Address?” about a growing squabble over the newly revised Advanced Placement course in US History.
Since then, things deteriorated to the point where the Republican National Committee has condemned the new AP US History course, charging it:
“reflects a radically revisionist view of American history that emphasizes negative aspects of our nation’s history while omitting or minimizing positive aspects.”
Education Week reports that, stung by the criticism, the College Board, which owns and controls all AP courses, took several actions including releasing a formerly secret practice test and issuing a letter from its president attempting to “clarify” the issues.
That clarification may not work.
Today, the AP US History course discussion is continued in the new edition of the School Reform News, which published both the letter from David Coleman, president of the College Board, and a new rebuttal from retired AP teacher Larry Krieger and American Principles Project Senior Fellow Jane Robbins. Krieger and Robbins were among the first to sound alarms about the changes to AP U.S. history curriculum and tests.
After examining the practice test, Robbins and Krieger say several questions regarding an article from Ben Franklin are written so that “a student could know the answer to the question without ever having heard of Benjamin Franklin.” They provide more examples of other questions which really don’t require history content knowledge and mostly are just reading interpretation exercises.
Curious, I looked at the Franklin questions, which are found at the front of the practice test. I think Robbins and Krieger have a point.
So, the battle rages on. You might find it interesting to look at the AP US History practice test for yourself.
I’d enjoy hearing your reactions.