Sponsor of AP History resolution: You are distorting my intentions

State Sen. William Ligon, R-Brunwick, says the AJC and this blog have misrepresented his resolution objecting to the content of the AP U.S. History, saying the language has been toned down in the latest version.

Here is his note to me and below is the current language from the Senate website so you can judge for yourself what the resolution is seeking:

Your editorial, while flaming in its rhetoric, is based on incorrect information. I realize we are on opposite sides in these debates, but it would help to at least receive the professional courtesy of knowing that you have a commitment to convey accurate information. Perhaps you do not take time to read legislation for yourself; however, that is the least I would expect from a reporter or an editor before penning an article or an opinion. If you would like for me to write a piece in response to your article, just let me know.

Below, you will see the note that my assistant wrote to Eric Stirgus. Perhaps you just read his article and based your facts on his report. However, he also failed to read the final version of the legislation.

Sincerely,

Senator William Ligon, Caucus Chairman

Here is the aforementioned note from Ligon’s assistant to our news reporter:

As you know by covering the legislature, the committee process often results in several drafts of legislation before it goes to the floor for a vote. When the hearing occurred, there was good testimony on both sides. It was apparent that the College Board acknowledged many shortcomings in the Framework. There was a promise made that those shortcomings would be addressed. Thus, all the punitive language that was in the original draft was removed. In addition, from the other side, a very good case was made that competition would enhance accountability and provide much needed choice. It was acknowledged that the College Board, in essence, has a monopoly over the coursework and testing for college-bound students. This is not a good situation for state taxpayers. Thus, the resolution addresses this problem by advancing the need for competition.

I’m not sure how you address corrections of a substantive nature like this, but I thought you should be aware of this information.

Thanks,

Sherena Arrington

Allow me to stress again the Senate does not plan to actually kill any AP classes because such an action would outrage the voters who matter most to Senate and House leaders.

In earlier blogs, I called this effort a charade to win political points and that’s what it is. Nothing more.

What voters ought to resent is the Senate using our schools in political ping pong. To spend tax dollars to hold hearings on this nonsense is embarrassing. One Senator told me outright, “This will never happen. It is just something we have to do for the base.”

Here is what the resolution says should occur if the College Board doesn’t revise its AP U.S. History framework:

Teacher Andy Dugger (standing) listens to presentation during his AP US History class at Central Gwinnett High School in Lawrenceville. Some Gwinnett County residents say APUSH promotes anti-American sentiments. The criticism in Gwinnett is part of a national debate. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Teacher Andy Dugger (standing) listens to presentation during his AP US History class at Central Gwinnett High School in Lawrenceville. Some Gwinnett County residents say APUSH promotes anti-American sentiments. The criticism in Gwinnett is part of a national debate. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

WHEREAS, despite offering revisions and clarifications to the framework, the College Board has made no substantial changes to the themes and key concepts of the framework, thus requiring all content to be taught in alignment with those themes and concepts; and WHEREAS, the framework describes its detailed requirements as required knowledge for Georgia students; and WHEREAS, to prepare their students for the APUSH examination, Georgia APUSH teachers will have to teach the APUSH required knowledge through the lens of the APUSH themes and concepts, to the detriment of the state mandated Georgia Performance Standards; and WHEREAS, the framework will thus have the effect of usurping the state mandated Georgia Performance Standards.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE GEORGIA GENERAL ASSEMBLY:

(1) That the State Board of Education instruct the College Board to return to an approach more compatible with the traditional topic outline, which respects and allows flexibility to incorporate the Georgia Performance Standards for Social Studies in classroom teaching and specifically incorporates the Georgia Performance Standards’ emphasis on America’s founding principles and the uniqueness of America’s role in the world;

(2) That the State Board of Education instruct the College Board to return to an APUSH examination that aligns with the approach described in paragraph (1) of this resolution;

(3) That the Georgia congressional delegation is urged to push for greater market competition in funding for the College Board;

(4) That the Governor is directed to contact other governors of several or all states to join Georgia in efforts to further market competition in advanced subject based testing for college credit; and

(5) That the State Board of Education and the Georgia Department of Education are directed to explore alternatives to the College Board’s Advanced Placement program that would allow Georgia students to obtain college credit by mastering the content dictated by Georgia standards, including the possible redirection of state funds for professional development activities, textbooks, or other instructional materials, and that the Governor would seek reciprocity among several or all states and urge them to do likewise.

 

 

Reader Comments 0

46 comments
teacherandmom
teacherandmom

Question?  Are any other states having the same debate and/or legislative proposals regarding AP History?  

HarryCrews
HarryCrews

It sounds like as if Mr. Ligon is unofficially announcing his eagerness (and extending his hand-out) to support the private "education contractors" who will overrun this state if Governor Deal's Opportunity School District legislation becomes a constitutional amendment on the 2016 ballot.

class80olddog
class80olddog

"

Wartime 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 raised questions about American values.

'


What "American Values" did the decision to drop the A-bomb raise?  It is better to fire-bomb the Japanese than to nuke them?  Or it is more fair to kill 1,000,000 American and Japanese soldiers and civilians rather than 246,000 in the two nuclear bomb blasts?

bu2
bu2

@Starik @class80olddog 

And all that was discussed in my non-AP American History course decades ago.


But is that all that should be discussed?

Starik
Starik

@class80olddog I agree with the decision to drop the bomb, but there's some evidence that the Japanese would have surrendered without it - the main objection the Japanese peace faction had is that "unconditional surrender" would have done away with the Emperor.  We let them keep him in the end.


There's also an argument that the Bomb is an unethical weapon, more like poison gas in the indiscriminate potential for mass killing.  None of the belligerents in W2 used gas even on the brink of defeat.

Starik
Starik

@bu2 @Starik @class80olddog Maybe in your non-AP class.  In mine, decades ago we were taught that the KKK were good people who saved the South from rule by the "N Words."

class80olddog
class80olddog

An excerpt from the "unbiased" APUSH:


"Progressive reformers responded to economic instability, social inequality, and political corruption by calling for government intervention in the economy, expanded democracy, greater social justice, and conservation of natural resources."

newsphile
newsphile

Who would have thought any Republican in the state legislature would demand options for tests or anything because a company has a monopoly.  This is more than a little hypocritical after voting that autos built in GA can be purchased without bids.  It's more than a little hypocritical after almost all of Deal's friends have received appointments to positions for which many of them are unqualified and for which all of them are overpaid and given excessive raises.  It's over-the-top hypocritical after Deal pushes for raises for judges, including son Jason's big one, and gets daughter-in-law Denise business from all the sitting politicians plus about $1.5 million from his own election.

Who would ever think any Republican would be against a monopoly on anything.  This is really grasping at straws.

redweather
redweather

The following can be found in the documents Maureen linked to earlier.  Doesn't sound real frightening or subversive to me.


The AP Exam questions do not require students to agree with the statements in the concept outline.

It is the nature of history as a discipline that individual statements are open to differences of interpretation. Like all historical claims, the statements in the concept outline should be examined in light of primary sources and evidence as well as historical research. Teachers can help students examine these concepts as claims, based on current scholarship about United States history, similar to those typically analyzed in a college-level survey course.


Teachers may wish to use these differences of interpretation as opportunities for student analysis of multiple perspectives. (For example, the statement "the decision to drop the atomic bomb raised questions about American values" suggests the value of analyzing multiple perspectives on that event.)

...................................


That is the way a survey of American history is taught at the college level.  Since AP students can earn college credit if they score high enough on the exam, that is the way it needs to be taught in APUSH.  What people like Mr. Ligon assume is that only a lefty/liberal/Howard Zinn version of American history will be taught.  I just wish he knew how conservative some of the history professors are where I teach.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

When I was studying for comps in grad school, I was trying to parse some pretty convoluted and self-serving work by one of the faculty.  So I read it aloud to my older daughter, a senior in high school and a sharp cookie, hoping that she could help me clear away the cobwebs.  At one point I said, "So, what is this saying?"


Her reply, "It's bull sheet, mom, nothing but bull sheet."  And she was right.  Perhaps this should be called what it is.

Starik
Starik

@Wascatlady We should have a mandatory high school class in BS recognition.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@Starik @Wascatlady 

The prominent French existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre said that a person's most valuable tool was a "built-in crap detector."

class80olddog
class80olddog

So my question is: Why did the College Board CHANGE APUSH?  Was it not already good enough?

class80olddog
class80olddog

@MaureenDowney @class80olddog  "

Business interests battled conservationists as the latter sought to protect sections of unspoiled wilderness through the establishment of national parks and other conservationist and preservationist measures.

"

Sounds pretty one-sided to me - reading that sentence, who is portrayed as the bad guy?

bu2
bu2

@class80olddog @MaureenDowney 

That sounds like big bad business vs. those preserving the "unspoiled wilderness"--Rather than actually having a discussion of a trade-off of jobs and economic development vs. preserving wilderness.  Some logging communities have been economically devastated by these conservation measures and the residents were very much against those people from NYC and Chicago and LA who wanted to preserve wilderness and eliminate the local's jobs.

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

I'm confused.  They want to make multiple college standards? 


I thought the College Board made an even playing ground across the country that high schools and colleges countrywide could agree on. 


Georgia trying to adjust this is, of course, only a political tool, and not actually a good move for any student, school, or college. 


class80olddog
class80olddog

@LogicalDude  So if the College Board adjusted their standards, it would still be a national standard. 

Looking4truth
Looking4truth

When are we going to learn that politicians in Georgia are one trick ponies?  One issue is all most of them care about - they find one little thing to latch on to drive a re-election campaign. 


Should we tell the emperor he has no clothes?  Then again, why let the truth get in the way of a good media opportunity.

dg417s
dg417s

College Board has a monopoly on AP - but that's like saying that McDonalds has a monopoly on the Big Mac - they invented the thing, but students have other options.  Schools can offer IB or dual enrollment as well.  What does bother me is the resolution clearly states that if College Board doesn't "fix" APUSH, Georgia will seek other options to AP all together.... no more AP Statistics, AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Psychology, AP Music Theory, AP French etc etc etc.

living-in-outdated-ed
living-in-outdated-ed

LOLOL! I couldn't even get past the first paragraph, because I find it so ironic that Ligon would say, "Perhaps you do not take time to read legislation yourself."  


This coming from the legislator who was asked point blank during the anti-common core debate last year what specific issues he had with the Common Core, and he could NOT even cite one item!  I threw up trying to read the rest of this pathetic resolution.    Let the State Board of Education do their job, and stop wasting taxpayer dollars and time on stuff that is not mundane to the issues facing public education system in Georgia today.


Mr. Ligon, while you are more than entitled to pen a response to Maureen's blog post, it wouldn't be worth the price of the paper it was printed on.  It will be 100% politics and a way for you to score political points with your Tea Party lackeys.   It's too late to save face here.  You've made your bed - now you must sleep in it.

SGAMOD
SGAMOD

I wonder if the folks in St. Simons and south Georgia truly understand how "out on the island" Ligon really is.  In many republican circles (from personal experience with the legislators themselves) they laugh at his rhetoric but only tolerate him because of the right wing base.



Point
Point

Senator, would you care for some cheese with that whine?

redweather
redweather

Mr. Ligon is just moving the goal post.  AS IF he would have made this play about the ETS having a monopoly.

MaureenDowney
MaureenDowney moderator

@Astro, Not sure if you have been around the Legislature, but elected officials will often talk about the horsetrading -- I am supporting this bill because Sen. X will then support my bill.

I have had legislators tell me they had no idea what someone's bill even said; they voted for it because it was a political necessity. 

I taught journalism at GSU and invited a Fulton County commissioner to come talk about the Presidential Parkway. This was before  the road was built in its much-reduced fashion. In its original form, the parkway would have gutted intown neighborhoods.

He told 30 kids in my class the road was unnecessary and a waste of money. But he was supporting it because of promised support for a major project he wanted. My students were shocked.


bu2
bu2

@MaureenDowney 

Well a Fulton County commissioner wouldn't know.  It benefitted DeKalb County, not Fulton.  From his standpoint it wasn't necessary.  The real issue was the trade-off vs. damage to neighborhoods.


What you really highlighted was the parochialism and short-sightedness in the area.

Astropig
Astropig

"One Senator told me outright, “This will never happen. It is just something we have to do for the base.”


Who? I find it hard to believe that any senator would say this to a reporter.Till I get a name, I call shenanigans.

Starik
Starik

@Astropig If officials couldn't talk freely with reporters without being tattled on they wouldn't talk to reporters at all, and we'd know less about government's inner workings than we do. It ain't pretty.

straker
straker

All this legalize is confusing.


If I understand it correctly, they don't want the warts of our Founding Fathers and others to be taught.


I personally don't mind a warts and all approach IF Black History books also show, warts and all, the complete characters of their heroes. 

Astropig
Astropig

@straker


I'm not sure that the people raising questions are so much upset by the things that are included in the framework as the things that are ignored. I had one parent tell me that the moral questions about our treatment of loyal Japanese Americans during WWII is included,but no mention of the inhuman treatment of allied prisoners of war by their captors is not covered at all,despite it's importance to their contemporary political decsion making process vis a vis the A-Bomb.


Again, not taking up for Ligon here (although I'm glad he showed some spine and took up for himself).He's accountable to the voters-not the AJC.

ChrisRMurphy
ChrisRMurphy

@Astropig @straker Glad you aren't teaching history. The dropping of the atom bomb had little or nothing to do with the treatment of allied prisoners: the prospect of invading the main home islands of Japan was extremely daunting as possible casualties were predicted at 1,000,000, on the allied side.  The bombs were dropped to force a surrender and preclude an invasion, not to protect or avenge prisoners.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@straker 

I don't think that Black History is taught as a separate high school AP course. In such college courses, the focus is on the events, not so much the individual characters. Also, "Black History" would span millennia, as would "White History."

Astropig
Astropig

@ChrisRMurphy @Astropig @straker


This is not true. By the summer of 1945,hundreds of allied prisoners were dying daily in Japanese prison camps from malnutrition,disease and mistreatment.The Japanese themselves were living on a near starvation diet and feeding prisoners (considered beneath contempt by their military code) was way down on the priority list.This knowledge certainly influenced president Truman and Secretary Stimson's use of the bomb to end the war and the suffering.In fact, one of the first acts of the allies after surrender was to drop food,medicine and doctors to known POW camps to save those that could be saved.


I'm glad you aren't teaching history to my kids.

MaureenDowney
MaureenDowney moderator

@To all, I have offered to run a piece by Sen. Ligon,. I will post as soon as I get it. 


MaureenDowney
MaureenDowney moderator

@EdUktr @MaureenDowney His resolution already passed a chamber. The only bills at stake today are those that have not passed one chamber. His passed the Senate this week. So, it's alive and well.

HollyJones
HollyJones

I don't disagree with the idea that the College Board holds a monopoly and that there might be some benefit to having options.  However, that effort will not be lead by legislators with an ax to grind.  They didn't hold the hearing to discuss competition.  They discussed alleged omissions in the course and demanded that the CB concede to their demands.    

MD3
MD3

Ligon is an embarrassment... A panderer, and a shameless one at that. Grow up, sir. Your elected position is worth more respect than you give it.