In response to critics of AP U.S. History, College Board alters course

The College Board announced changes to the framework for Advanced Placement U.S. History that allay criticisms there was too much negativity and anti-America sentiment.

As the Washington Post reported:

Conservatives, including the Republican National Committee and 2016 GOP presidential hopeful Ben Carson, slammed the 2014 Advanced Placement history course for overemphasizing negative aspects of U.S. history, portraying historical events as “identity politics” — a series of conflicts between groups of people as opposed to explaining historical events through shared ideals — and failing to fully explore the unique and positive values of the U.S. system. Carson told a gathering in September that the framework is so anti-American that “I think most people, when they finish that course, they’d be ready to sign up for ISIS.”

Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars, a group of academics created to “confront the rise of campus political correctness,” commended the College Board for the 2015 revisions but said there is room for improvement.

The AJC’s Eric Stirgus reported:

College Board officials made some revisions to the course last year to give teachers more flexibility. Those changes angered conservative activists across the nation, who said the altered course had a revisionist viewpoint that diminishes U.S. history. The Republican National Committee quickly passed a resolution demanding the College Board delay implementing the changes. Many teachers and historians, though, supported the changes and disputed claims of bias.

Georgia Superintendent Richard Woods endorses changes announced tody to APUSH framework. (DOE Photo)

Georgia Superintendent Richard Woods endorsed changes announced today by the College Board to its APUSH framework. (DOE Photo)

Jane Robbins, a prominent critic of last year’s revisions, said she has glanced at the changes and is still concerned. Robbins, a senior fellow at the American Principles Project, a conservative think tank, said the changes must be made to textbooks, not just the course guidelines, to be effective. “The students don’t know what’s in the framework. They know what’s in the textbooks,” said Robbins, who hopes other organizations besides the College Board will offer such courses.

Fulton County teacher Chad Hoge, who testified in support of the course at a state Legislature joint education committee meeting in February, countered that he encourages teachers to use a variety of materials to teach the class. He said the changes better explain what should be taught in a balanced way. Hoge, who teaches the course at Centennial High School, hopes the revisions will allay student concerns that the course is seriously flawed or that it may go away. “It’s really been a distraction to our students,” Hoge said.

Here is the response from Georgia Superintendent Richard Woods:

“The new Advanced Placement U.S. History frameworks that were released today are a big step in the right direction. I noted earlier this year that I had deep concerns regarding the College Board’s new APUSH framework and testing because I did not believe our nation’s history was being represented with a balanced approach. I was able to meet with the College Board’s president – at his request – a few months ago and had a frank conversation about my concerns. I’m pleased to see that many of the very concerns I addressed with him are reflected in the 2015-2016 APUSH frameworks.”

The College Board closely studied Georgia’s U.S. History standards and those of other states in making the revisions. They are partnering with the National Constitutional Center to ensure a greater focus on the teaching of the founding documents.

Key Changes

The revised 2015 APUSH frameworks clarify the following areas to reflect their importance in U.S. history.

  • American national identity and unity
  • American ideals of liberty, citizenship, self-governance, and how those ideals play out in U.S. history
  • American founding political leaders, including Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Madison, Hamilton, and Franklin
  • Founding Documents – including the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Federalist Papers – as reflected in a new recommended focus section
  • Productive role of free enterprise, entrepreneurship, and innovation in shaping U.S. history
  • U.S. role in the victories of WWI and WWII, particularly the contributions and sacrifices of American servicemen and women in those wars
  • U.S. leadership in ending the Cold War
  • Role of religious ideas and groups in shaping American society and political life
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Reader Comments 0

158 comments
Scotdawg
Scotdawg

Let's not overlook that in Georgia's integrated Social Studies curriculum, students learn the importance and significance of the Founding Documents in U.S. Government, the U.S. role in the victories of WWI and WWII in World History, and the productive role of free enterprise, entrepreneurship and innovation in Economics.  Successful completion of these three courses, in addition to U.S. History, are required for graduation.

class80olddog
class80olddog

You know - interesting thought experiment - what if the current president, with support from eastern states, declared that you could not own horses and all horses must be freed immediately, think there might be a backlash in the west?

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@class80olddog 

Well, if the horses had originally been human beings (centaurs?), this might happen. But not otherwise.

An American Patriot
An American Patriot

You know, the best way to deal with a racist is to ignore them.  When you engage them, it just eggs them on.  That's what happened here and it's happening everywhere.  I would urge you to stop.  I know the comments help the blogger; however, racists need your input to be effective.  DON'T FALL INTO THEIR TRAP!!!!!

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@An American Patriot 

You know, that holds true for white racists, who constantly comment on the inherently low IQs of black people and the inevitable crime in black neighborhoods and high black drop-out rate because all black children believe it's "white" to like school, as well as black racists.

An American Patriot
An American Patriot

@OriginalProf @Lee_CPA2 Ring around the rosies, pockets full of posies.....OK, OP, the following require a YES or NO answer.....


  1. Are you a PAID Commenter?
  2. Are you Caucasion?
  3. Are you a Black Person?
  4. Does Ms. Downey know you are a paid commenter?
  5. Are paid commenters paid well?
  6. Will you answer any of the five questions above truthfully?

Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

@OriginalProf

"You know, that holds true for white racists, who constantly comment on the inherently low IQs of black people and the inevitable crime in black neighborhoods and high black drop-out rate..."

Or, you could refute their comments with facts.  Oh, wait, that's right, you can't.....

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@An American Patriot @OriginalProf @Lee_CPA2 

As I've posted many times before, I'm a white retired University professor who taught at one of the USG schools.  Why would you think I'm a paid commenter?  Is it so hard to believe that some people don't think as you do?

An American Patriot
An American Patriot

@OriginalProf @An American Patriot @Lee_CPA2 So, why won't you answer the question YES or NO?  You answered a question with a question, leading me to believe that i'm correct.  That's a favorite tactic of the left.  I know I'm late with this; however, I had better things to do than argue with an extremely liberal professor.  

Astropig
Astropig

I'd love to hear a follow up on this from Senator William Ligon,who was the point man in raising the issue before the legislature.I'd enjoy seeing his take on the CB's actions.


Any chance that you'll reach out to him, Maureen?

popacorn
popacorn

Is it just me, or is DrAngryBM starting to sound a lot like ol' Bernie right before he went over the edge? Time for an intervention?

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@popacorn 

I think it's you. DPBM sounds like he's always sounded in the 4 years here I've read him on the blog: a proud male African-American who speaks back to the constant "micro-aggressions of racism" (as it's been called) encountered on this blog.


Some teachers here might prefer an "intervention" in another direction..........

DrProudBlackMan
DrProudBlackMan

@popacorn 


Bernie was actually mad at YOU PEOPLE. Not me. I recognize YOU PEOPLE for the losers that you truly are.


Argosy 08 ;)

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@Astropig @DrProudBlackMan @popacorn 

I just went back to the original long post by DPBM yesterday beginning, "More complaints from..." that you and popacorn claim are so full of grammatical errors. I found that sentence 3 is a technical fragment; there is a typo in sentence 4, and an unnecessary comma in sentence 7.  That's all. The syntax is fine and so is the spelling. 


When criticizing your opponent, do not exaggerate for it weakens your own position...especially when your own posts have been shown to make similar errors.

Astropig
Astropig

@OriginalProf @Astropig @DrProudBlackMan @popacorn


Prof- I'm asking you to stop pretending that this guy is not a vile racist and patronizing him. Your place in life is secure-you don't have to show how progressive you are by endorsing this wingnut.It's beneath you (I think,I hope)

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@Astropig @OriginalProf @DrProudBlackMan @popacorn 

The only thing I'm endorsing--and that quite strongly-- is his right to express his opinions just as you do.  Here, he has described what he teaches his black students in an all-black school. You apparently don't approve that he teaches them not to trust most white people because of their various practices such as white flight when blacks move in and false use of racial crime statistics, that factually have happened. You may call that "vile racism," but I call it a quite common belief among many in Southern black communities.

Terming all that he writes as being full of grammatical errors is factually untrue, and fits in right there with some racist stereotypes about black people.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@Starik @OriginalProf @Astropig @DrProudBlackMan @popacorn 

I don't know...if I were a black parent of a lower SES in a purely black community in rural Southwest Georgia (as I think he has in the past described his school), I might want him teaching my kids.  You may not like what he has to say, as a white suburbanite near Atlanta, but in black rural Georgia it might be survivalist advice.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@Starik @OriginalProf @Astropig @DrProudBlackMan @popacorn 

What if you're mired there? Minimum-wage job (if any job), family with roots in the area, no money to move and no place to move to anyway? Plus the surrounding powers-that-be treat you like you're worth dirt and treat your children worse. No, racial hatred sure isn't pretty, and my distinct impression is that DPBM has seen plenty of it directed toward himself and the children he teaches.



OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@popacorn @OriginalProf 

Maureen. I strongly resent what this poster has insultingly named me.  Please remove this post, and count it against the poster.

popacorn
popacorn

@OriginalProf

Time for a Girls Club meeting, it sounds like.Troublemaker in the class!

BTW, How IS Bernie?

popacorn
popacorn

@DrProudBlackMan @OriginalProf

Fine. Ignore the signs if you wish. You enabled Bernie and look what happened. Enabling someone does them no favors. It's that stinkin' thinkin'. Some friend. 

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@bu2 @OriginalProf @Starik @Astropig @DrProudBlackMan @popacorn 

As I recall from his former posts, he teaches social studies at a middle school in rural Southwest Georgia. 


I agree with your judgements here of Hall, et. al. and cannot forget the statement by one of the APS "cheaters" about her black students: "We had to cheat, because they're dumb as dirt."

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@popacorn @OriginalProf @bu2 @Starik @Astropig @DrProudBlackMan 

I would say that they were classist.  Those teachers, and their administrators, were all middle-class; and the children were working-class or of a lower SES (socio-economic status). I don't think that racism was really much involved in the APS cheating case. And I think that generally, discrimination today is connected with class or SES, not race.

Starik
Starik

@popacorn @Starik @OriginalProf @Astropig @DrProudBlackMan "As I recall from his former posts, he teaches social studies at a middle school in rural Southwest Georgia."  I have lots of experience with people with low SES, including the lowest.  They aren't bad people, they just have little or no experience with the people with higher economic status.  For the kids, the teacher is of paramount importance.  A teacher like Mary Elizabeth Sings can instill ambition and direction in some of these kids. A teacher like Dr.BM will teach them to hate. Hate leads to prison. 

What sort of community, what sort of school board would allow this individual to teach?   

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@Starik 

Thank you, Starik, for the compliment. I was as much blessed by the students whom I had had the fortune to help, as they, hopefully, had benefited from my presence as their teacher.

DrProudBlackMan
DrProudBlackMan

Funny how none of YOU PEOPLE actually rebutted my thesis. Just more of the same ole "my butt hurts" and "you the problem." Tell you what; share these thoughts with black people IN PERSON and let me know how it turns out for you...COWARDS.

DrProudBlackMan
DrProudBlackMan

@Starik


No my attitude is my opinion. As a black man born and bred in the south I stopped hearing you people's observation on race a looooong time ago.

straker
straker

sssinff - "when Historians study History, they present an argument"


The good ones don't.


They simply present the facts as they actually happened.


If they give any opinion, it is labeled as such.

Claver
Claver

@straker You can never get opinion completely out of the study of history.  There have been million of things that have happened in this country's history.  All of them are "facts".  But, History books do not (and indeed could not) contain every fact in this country's history.  Someone has to decide which of those millions of facts are the important ones, and that requires opinion and judgment.  It is a fact that my rooster crowed at 6:47 this morning and it is a fact that the sun rose 1 minute later.  But, if that is all you know, you might come to the wrong conclusions despite the fact that everything you were taught was true.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@Claver 

I just completed reading Harper Lee's recently published book, "Go Set a Watchman."  She actually had written the book before she wrote "To Kill a Mockingbird."


"To Kill a Mockingbird" was set in the 1930s South and "Go Set a Watchman" was set in the 1950s South.  We see Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck's character in the movie "To Kill a Mockingbird") in his early 50s in "Mockingbird" and in his early 70s in "Go Set a Watchman."

Atticus Finch was based on Harper Lee's father, a widower.  The "facts" about Atticus' character are seemingly different in the two books, and there has been some recent literary/social controversy about that.


However, it seems to me that it is up to the reader to put the "two" Atticus's in his or her mind without a problem. I had no difficulty in seeing Atticus Finch - in full.  By that I mean, through the eyes of his 7 year old daughter, "Scout," in the 1930s South and, also, through the eyes of "Scout" at age 26, home to Alabama from NYC for a vacation with her father, his brother and his sister.


I believe that Americans needed to have read "To Kill A Mockingbird" when it first appeared on the American landscape in the late 1950s and early 1960s as a vital part of the evolution of our nation's racial healing.  I also believe that "Go Set a Watchman" is needed to be read by people of all races, today,  after having read Lee's first book in order to understand those multilayered dimensions in human beings and in events in the evolution of a nation with greater depth and breath.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

And what if, as is quite likely, colleges and universities decide not to accept this AP History course for credit?  It's certainly received enough publicity.

Astropig
Astropig

@OriginalProf



 "And what if, as is quite likely, colleges and universities decide not to accept this AP History course for credit?  It's certainly received enough publicity."


Actually CB addressed that overtly:


"As the College Board put it in a statement to Newsweek , the revised framework will “clarify and encourage a balanced approach to the teaching of American history, while remaining faithful to the requirements that colleges and universities set for academic credit.”

“Given the substantive feedback we have received from educators and the general public representing a range of political viewpoints, we are confident that the concerns some have expressed over the past year will be resolved by the new edition.”

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@Astropig @OriginalProf 

That's the PR put out by the College Board.  But it's up to the colleges and universities to decide if they will accept it for academic credit...which means that most probably their History Departments will be consulted. And frankly, given the publicity, I rather doubt they will agree unless the school already has a conservative bent.

Astropig
Astropig

@OriginalProf @Astropig


I think they'll accept it. There's no revisionism here. Nobody is going to be teaching that the South won the Civil War or anything like that. It's a framework change that sets out a lot of broader objectives that teachers can fine tune. If it's too "PC" for some colleges, it's their loss.