by Ken Mercer
(Editor: www.thereportcard.org Ken Mercer is a member of the Texas Board of Education and a former member of the Texas House of Representatives. Mr. Mercer has been a strong voice for K-12 curricula containing traditional American History and Civics. Although Texas is not a Common Core state, Mr. Mercer points out the danger of having Common Core author David Coleman as head of the College Board. In this article written for The Report Card, Mr. Mercer comments on the new anti-American College Board Advanced Placement U.S. History Framework).
On July 4th we witnessed nationwide patriotism honoring our Founding Fathers and the sacrifices of our courageous men and women in uniform. This must have annoyed David Coleman, the chief architect of the controversial Common Core national standards, and many of his College Board (CB) colleagues.
After drafting the Common Core English language arts standards, Coleman became president of the CB. He immediately moved to implement his Common Core standards into the Scholastic Achievement Test (SAT).
Then it was announced – the 34 Advanced Placement (AP) courses that high school students take for college credit – will be aligned with Common Core.
While we celebrate Independence Day, the CB (www.CollegeBoard.com) is rolling out its new AP U.S. History (APUSH) course. This fall over 450,000 high school sophomores and juniors, including at least 46,000 from Texas, will enroll in APUSH. This will be their last high school course ever in United States history.
The College Board has traditionally provided APUSH teachers with a detailed 5-page Topical Outline that presents a reasonably balanced view of American history. In practice the APUSH course has always supported the history standards passed by your state’s legislature.
This fall APUSH teachers must ignore state standards and teach the CB’s new 98-page “Framework” that defines “the required knowledge of each period.”
While claiming “flexibility” for educators to study other events and persons required by state curriculum guides, the CB website clearly states that “all questions [on the AP exam] are derived from the course’s stated learning objectives.” In other words, teachers don’t waste your time — we (CB) decide what is important in U.S. history.
This means that Coleman and his unelected College Board become the de facto legislature and board of education for each state.
How bad is the new AP U.S. History Framework? Here are a few key items verified with Larry Krieger (retired teacher and author recognized by the CB as one of the best AP teachers in 2004 and 2005) and Jane Robbins (Senior Fellow at the American Principles Project):
- In the period of the American Revolution up to the 1787 Constitutional Convention, almost every Founding Father is omitted – no Jefferson, Adams, Madison, or Franklin. The Framework excludes Lexington, Concord, Bunker Hill, Valley Forge, Saratoga, and Yorktown. The commanders and heroes of these pivotal battles are all omitted.
- The lessons on the Civil War omit the Lincoln-Douglas debates, the Gettysburg Address, and the assassination of President Lincoln. The Framework once again omits crucial battles, key commanders, and the valor of common soldiers.
- The lessons on World War II omit “The Greatest Generation,” Truman, Hitler, D-Day, Midway, the Battle of the Bulge, and every military commander including Dwight Eisenhower. Inexplicably, Nazi atrocities against Jews and other groups are not required. The CB concludes its treatment of WWII with this blunt statement: “The decision to drop the atomic bomb raised questions about American values.”
- The lessons on the Civil Rights Movement do not mention America’s first African-American President. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Cesar Chavez, Rosa Parks, the Navajo Code Talkers, Tuskegee Airmen, 442nd Infantry Regiment, and Barbara Jordan’s famous speech on the Constitution are all omitted.
A word search of the entire 98-page document will not find one military commander or one Medal of Honor recipient. Our best and brightest students will thus learn nothing of the heroism and sacrifices of Americans in uniform.
The CB instead presents an overwhelmingly negative viewpoint of U.S. history that will only please America-haters such as former Illinois professor Bill Ayers.
This unelected body is rewriting United States history and promoting among our students a disdain for American principles and a lack of knowledge of major American achievements.
History is a dramatic story which, if taught well, allows students to study both the good and bad of America. The new APUSH Framework purposely stresses the negative while dismissing America’s positive contributions.
If we do nothing, this radical AP U.S. History course will enter our high schools this fall.
Join me in the “Revolution of 2014” by demanding that Members of your House and Senate and State Board of Education immediately rebuke and reject. Rebuke the College Board for promoting an unbalanced, far-left agenda. Reject the new 2014 APUSH Framework and Exam.
Educators can continue with the previous APUSH course and exam until Congress investigates and demands a new course built by professors who understand balance, honor our military heroes, and love America.
For today’s patriots, this is our Valley Forge and our D-Day – this is the Revolution of 2014!