AP History Changes Lean Towards a Negative American Perspective

Spirit of 76 hot plate

The College Board, headed by Common Core architect, David Coleman, recently published a new 98 page framework for the AP History course and exam.

Jane Robbins of the American Principles Project writes concerning the recent changes to the AP History courses in an article recently published by the Heartland Institute.

The article, “New Advancement Placement Framework Distorts American History,” focuses on the change and “is best described as a curricular coup that sets a number of dangerous precedents.”

These precedents include a negative view of American History and ignores the United States’ founding principles and their influence of democracy and the role it played in abolishing slavery.

Robbins says,

A particularly troubling failure of the Framework is its dismissal of the Declaration of Independence and the principles so eloquently expressed there. The Framework’s entire discussion of this seminal document consists of just one phrase in one sentence: “The colonists’ belief in the superiority of republican self-government based on the natural rights of the people found its clearest American expression in Thomas Paine’s Common Sense and in the Declaration of Independence.” The Framework thus ignores the philosophical underpinnings of the Declaration and the willingness of the signers to pledge “our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor” to the cause of freedom.

The Framework also sidesteps any discussion of the personalities and achievements of American giants whose courage and conviction helped build our country. It excises Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, and the other founders from the United States’ story. George Washington’s historical contributions are reduced to a brief sentence fragment noting his Farewell Address. Two pages later, the Framework grants teachers the flexibility to discuss the architecture of Spanish missions, which presumably merits more attention than the heroes of 1776.

The Framework consistently highlights negative events while ignoring positive achievements. For example, although it does not mention the sacrifices U.S. civilians and armed forces made to defeat fascism, it does recommend that teachers focus on “[w]artime experiences, such as the internment of Japanese Americans, challenges to civil liberties, debates over race and segregation, and the decision to drop the atomic bomb [which] raised questions about American values.”  Full Article HERE.

Certainly parents and teachers of AP students would agree that these changes are the rewriting of our history and culture that will  fundamentally transform our country.

Larry Krieger a retired AP U.S. History teacher from Pennsylvania states,

” [The] College Board Framework is far more interested in the concepts of superiority and conflict than it is in the concept of cooperation and unity.”

You may read the thorough analysis HERE as it breaks down each time period.

I agree with Jane Robbins,

AP U.S. History should give students a balanced curriculum that acknowledges both America’s founding principles and its continuing struggles to be faithful to those principles. Instead, the new College Board Framework seems determined to create a cynical generation of what it calls “apprentice historians.” Is this really what we want our children to learn about America’s history?

The AP US History Framework is not a fait accompli. There is still time for parents, educators and public officials to closely scrutinize it and then demand a new curriculum that does not trump state curricular requirements with warmed-over political correctness.

Parents and educators can contact the College Board National Offices with your concerns at their website below or directly with the following emails:

45 Columbus Avenue
New York, NY 10023
Phone: 212-713-8000

Parents: apstudents@info.collegeboard.org
Educators: apexams@info.collegeboard.org
Let your voice be heard and inform others of this attempt to rewrite history!