The way American history is taught in high schools across the United States may soon undergo a radical shift toward a “centrally-controlled and sharply left-leaning curriculum,” one conservative commentator said — and there’s a curious connection to Common Core underneath it all.
In his op-ed for National Review Online, “New War Over High School U.S. History,” Stanley Kurtz noted that the College Board — which issues the SAT college entrance and Advanced Placement exams — is implementing a new framework for the AP U.S. History Exam.
In the end this framework will jettison high school American history’s “traditional emphasis on America’s founders and the principles of constitutional government” in favor of “a left-leaning emphasis on race, gender, class, ethnicity…” he wrote.
Kurtz also insisted that public debate about the issue has been “largely suppressed by the stealthy way in which the College Board has rolled out the new test.”
More from NRO:
The new AP U.S. History Exam has been issued under the authority of David Coleman, president of the College Board and, not coincidentally, architect of the Common Core. 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.
While the College Board has publicly released a lengthy “framework” for the new AP U.S. History Exam, that framework contains only a few sample questions. Sources tell me, however, that a complete sample exam has be released, although only to certified AP U.S. History teachers. Those teachers have been warned, under penalty of law and the stripping of their AP teaching privileges, not to disclose the content of the new sample AP U.S. History Exam to anyone.
This is clearly an effort to silence public debate over these heavily politicized and illegitimately nationalized standards. If the complete sample test was available, the political nature of the new test would become evident. Public scrutiny of the sample test would also expose potential conflicts between the new exam and existing state standards. This is why the College Board has kept the test secret and threatened officially certified AP U.S. History teachers with severe penalties for revealing the test.
Coleman made headlines in March when he unveiled sweeping revisions to the SAT, including an end to the written essay and penalties for wrong answers.
Kurtz also characterized as “misleading” the College Board’s claims that its new framework for AP U.S. History is “adaptable to the preferences of particular states, school districts, and teachers” since the framework also “insists that the examples must be used to illustrate the themes and concepts behind the official College Board vision.”
Kurtz’s comments are likely to fuel the already hot debate and criticism over Common Core. In fact, conservative commentator Glenn Beck is hosting an entire night dedicated to the subject across theaters nationwide on Tuesday, July 22 called We Will Not Conform.
More from Kurtz’s op-ed:
The upshot is that James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and the other founders are largely left out of the new test, unless they are presented as examples of conflict and identity by class, gender, race, ethnicity, etc. The Constitution can be studied as an example of the Colonists’ belief in the superiority of their own culture, for instance. But any teacher who presents a full unit on the principles of the American Constitution taught in the traditional way would be severely disadvantaging his students. So while allowing some minor flexibility on details, the new AP U.S. History framework effectively forces teachers to train their students in a leftist, blame-America-first reading of history, while omitting traditional treatments of our founding principles.
Kurtz also noted that while Texas is leading the resistance to the new AP U.S. History Exam, Ken Mercer — a Texas School Board member who’s trying to introduce a resolution rebuking and rejecting the exam — is being told that he has to wait until September for such action…when it will be too late
As Texas comprises about 10 percent of the College Board’s market, if it were able to reject the new AP U.S. History Exam, Kurtz wrote that “the entire project could be put into doubt,” adding that it’s “imperative that Ken Mercer be allowed to introduce his resolution.”