New AP U.S. History Test Infuriates Texas State Board of Ed Members

AmericanMilitary.jpg
Wikimedia
The textbook cover for an American history class, after SBOE members have had their say.

America is the best place ever. Everyone knows that except, it seems, our educators. The College Board is rolling out new guidelines this year for the Advanced Placement U.S. history exams that has some Texas School Board members crying foul. Ken Mercer, noted conservative school board member, says the new test reeks of anti-Americanism.

For starters, the test downplays American exceptionalism and emphasizes more complicated social issues -- for example, Japanese internment during World War II, the Civil Rights Act or Lyndon Johnson's Great Society. The College Board claims it's simply trying to give students a more well-rounded view of American history.

But to some state board members, the test ignores how great America is in favor of a discussion of its flaws. "Those great generals in the Civil War, crushing Germany in World War II, that's all that really stands out to me," Mercer told Vice, recalling his own youthful days in history class. Now, he claims that "there's nothing in there about our military and all those victories."

The new test and course guidelines, however, emphasize sweeping general concepts, rather than focusing on minutia. And while it's true that the new framework emphasizes social issues in American history, the College Board says the intention is to complement the general historical guidelines and requirements that each state gives their teachers. But Pat Hardy, another conservative member of the State Board of Education, says the framework moves away from general college survey courses and is entirely a social course.

"To me there was a negativity to the standards, and very few positives about America were found. Here's the thing -- before they can discuss the good and bad they have to discuss facts," she says. "They [College Board] said this is what colleges are requesting. But there are very left-leaning college professors who have their own interpretation of American history and that's being brought out in this document."

Hardy says it's important for students to receive a solid foundation before they go off and are corrupted by liberal universities. "I think I read a statistic that said 82 percent of UT courses were gender or race related. That really annoys me," she said. "Why do we make such a big deal of that?"

There's no need, she says, to emphasize social aspects of U.S. history when it should be a survey course. Why for example, she continues, should AP U.S. history teachers emphasize how the Native American population was basically demolished by white settlers without equally emphasizing how Native Americans attacked white settlers?

The College Board is doing their best to abate the fear that they could be liberalizing impressionable teenagers. David Coleman, president of the College Board says in a statement that the last thing he intends to do is minimize American excellence and military achievement:

People who are worried that AP U.S. History students will not need to study our nation's founders need only take one look at this exam to see that our founders are resonant throughout.The exam opens with an excerpt from The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. On this college-level exam, students will need to not only analyze George Washington's "Farewell Address" with care, but also articulate the influence of Washington's words on American foreign policy in the 20th century. Students encounter one of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's earliest calls to our country to gather itself to combat tyranny abroad. Every question on the new AP U.S. History Exam now requires students to demonstrate an understanding of America's important historical documents and leaders. Students who pass this exam will not only be more ready for college, they will be more ready to be citizens.

Nonetheless, Hardy says that while Texas kids will be OK as long as teachers focus on state standards and put the AP framework second, the College Board needs to make sure they downplay the social aspects for students who are not so lucky to live in Texas. The board is expected to hear an agenda item at its September meeting that would enforce and prioritize state social studies requirements in all Texas classrooms, regardless of AP guidelines.


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139 comments
noblefurrtexas
noblefurrtexas topcommenter

This morning, I was watching a movie with Peter Sellers as Chauncey Gardener.  One of his most profound pronouncements was, "As long as the plants are not severed from their roots, the garden will be just fine."


It occurs to me that Barack Obama, liberal Democrats, and those wishing to rewrite history are trying to separate America and its institutions from their roots, thereby dooming those plants to wither and die.


It is time to find a new White House gardener.

noblefurrtexas
noblefurrtexas topcommenter

I appreciate the D.O. doing the story; very much, in fact.  But hearing the flimsy excuses of college board executives lying to defend what they did makes me sick, and gravely disappoints. 


First of all, the College Boards have N E V E R been meant to educate students.  They were intended to have a standardized testing and scoring system for colleges to be able to measure high school graduate individual readiness for college.  So, the excuses about giving people a more balanced view of history are a lie and are a deceptive attempt to cover up more cynical errors. 

I remember a Texas History book submitted about five years ago that had misspelled words, glorified the Mexicans at the Alamo and San Jacinto, and gave more space to Martin Luther King and Caesar Chavez than Stephen F. Austin, William Travis, or Sam Houston.   And, it sounds very much like this so-called "test" is just a refined version of that wrong-headed and incorrect excuse for a Texas History book. 

Sickening. 



andypandy
andypandy

By G-d we're Texas, we're like a whole other country.  Why can't we just succeed from this liberal pansy ass college board created mumbo jumbo and create our own based on G-d fearing Texas bred values!  Hell, we're raising Texans and not some weak Michigonians or pitiful Massatucites.  Call it ATP (Advanced Texas Placement) and it begins at the Alamo and ends with fracking, in between we win every war with the crushing defeat of our enemies and teach the Indians about Jesus. 

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

This blog, and the comments below (except for the ones where posters spew crap about each other) are examples of the type of discussion the College Board is attempting to cultivate in AP courses. Bringing ideas forward for discussion/debate is how students further their intellectual capacity and develop a better understanding of our country's history.

unfortunately, the detractors of the College Board on the SBOE do not wish for this discussion and debate to occur, they prefer students just listen to what they're told is what's "right" and not really critically think about the subject.

wbj3
wbj3

Universally discredited "historian" David Barton serves as an advisor to the Texas Board of Education.  That says it all about this reign of Conseervative idiocy that began just as I entered adulthood 34 years ago.

MaxNoDifference
MaxNoDifference

I always found it interesting that most of the great generals in the U.S. Civil War wore butternut gray.  But they were still Americans.

muddystick
muddystick

Yes, this is anecdotal, nevertheless....  I teach US history to adult high school dropouts preparing for their GED exam.  One student, who was engaged to an active duty solider and sported stars and stripes painted on her fingernails, had no idea John F. Kennedy was assassinated.  No idea he was assassinated in Dallas or where in Dallas.  She dropped out of Garland schools.


She was pregnant with the soldier's child and planned her wedding, to include her wedding dress, with a camo theme.


Yes, we truly are an exceptional country!

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

U$A offers material support and safe haven to Murderous International Terrorist who Bombed Civilian Airliner killing innocent civilians!


Orland Bosch took part in Operation Condor and several other terrorist attacks, including the 6 October 1976 bombing of a Cuban civilian airliner in which all 73 people on board were killed, including many young members of a Cuban fencing team and five North Koreans.


The bombing was plotted at a 1976 meeting in Washington, D.C. attended by Bosch, Luis Posada Carriles, and DINA agent Michael Townley. 


At the same meeting, the assassination of Chilean former minister Orlando Letelieris alleged to have been plotted. Bosch was given safe haven within the US in 1990 by President George H. W. Bush, who in 1976 as head of the CIA had declined an offer by Costa Rica to extradite Bosch.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

How does this affect Johnny Tremain?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

U$A offers material support and safe haven to International Terrorist who Bombed Civilian Airliner killing innocent civilians!


Orland Bosch took part in Operation Condor and several other terrorist attacks, including the 6 October 1976 bombing of a Cuban civilian airliner in which all 73 people on board were killed, including many young members of a Cuban fencing team and five North Koreans.


 The bombing was plotted at a 1976 meeting in Washington, D.C. attended by Bosch, Luis Posada Carriles, and DINA agent Michael Townley


At the same meeting, the assassination of Chilean former minister Orlando Letelieris alleged to have been plotted. Bosch was given safe haven within the US in 1990 by President George H. W. Bush, who in 1976 as head of the CIA had declined an offer by Costa Rica to extradite Bosch.

NancyBeanforSBOE
NancyBeanforSBOE

History is a social story: a story of cultures and migrations and power struggles. Pat Hardy supports politically elected officials writing our academic standards. However, I propose that professionals credentialed in the field should be writing our academic standards. Support Nancy Bean for SBOE, District 11.

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

Focusing only on the bad is just as foolish as only focusing on the good.

fifthleg
fifthleg

@noblefurrtexas Never finished watching the movie, but the book it was based on was a satire about someone who learned everything he knew from watching tv. The author was a Polish writer who invented his own personal history and eventually committed suicide.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@bvckvs ... knowledge, education and intelligence "corrupts" Voters to reject the hatred, bigotry and idiocy of the Rethuglycan / Teatard parties.

noblefurrtexas
noblefurrtexas topcommenter

@mavdog Academic history is hardly a student debating exercise.  History books are supposed to be mostly factual.  While some of the details or motives might be debatable, the facts should not be. When they are, it is generally good form to say they are in dispute, by whom, and why. 


I don't know where you went to your last four grades of high school, but we did very little debating about the facts, and spent more time drawing conclusions about what the facts taught for the present and future. 


I can't count the number of times I heard, " Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it".  But, I have now learned that is beyond true; it's a warning to the foolish. 


One of the blessings of un-editorialized history is that imparts enough facts that interpretations are also more rooted in truth than fantasy.  The Battle of the Alamo is a great example of that, but so are the benefits of the Franklin Stove, moveable type, and the frontier of flying. 


The more realistic and truthful the things are that you read, the more accurate the logic you will develop from them.



TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@donk

Dinner shift tonight? That means lots of pot scrubbing, no?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

"Any country that harbors a terrorist is equally guilty as the terrorist. "

-- George aWol Bush

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay Hope you're not recommending Zinn, Donkey. He's every bit as unreliable as the American exceptionalism crowd.

noblefurrtexas
noblefurrtexas topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay @bvckvs If you knew how utterly stupid this sounds, you might think twice before posting such garbage.  Come to think of it.... nevermind. 

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@noblefurrtexas

"History is written by the victors who have hung the heroes"

William Wallace

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay FUCK AMERICA


--DonkeyHotay

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay @Sotiredofitall Yah, already with the name calling - 

Hot.Sauce
Hot.Sauce topcommenter

@Myrna your people often forget the genocide suffered by others.

Why?

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz @DonkeyHotay And even in Israel.  Josh. 6 "...They utterly destroyed everything in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword...."

They did spare a prostitute though.

noblefurrtexas
noblefurrtexas topcommenter

@mavdog @noblefurrtexas I think it was Benjamin Franklin who said, "Treason is a charge invented by winners as an excuse for hanging the losers.". 


But, he also opined, "The meaning of the word "Revolution" depends on who is speaking. In the first person, such as "our revolution", it is a noble thing intended to throw off the bonds of tyranny.  But, in the second person, such as "their revolution", it is treason and an act against the authority of the state.". 

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay @bmarvel Did you imagine, Donkey, that I would necessarily disagree with Chomsky? I've probably read more Chomsky than you could carry out of a library. 

I've also read Patricia Limerick for a somewhat more nuanced view of the the conquest of America.

Chomsky is often right but frequently wrong, but in any event not a historian. As for Zinn, he was a historian, but a very bad one.

Hot.Sauce
Hot.Sauce topcommenter

Now that there is some stupid sounding shit!

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@bmarvel "Chomsky is often right but frequently wrong"


You should strive in life to be as "wrong" as Noam.


Good luck.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@bmarvel " I've probably read more Chomsky than you could carry out of a library. "


You flatter yourself, and sound like a fool.



Chattering_Monkey
Chattering_Monkey

@DonkeyHotay @RTGolden1 @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz Go fuck yourself donkey.  You belong back in that honduran prison being some dudes bitch.  you hate so much about AMerica, why dont you enlighten us about where its so much better that you feel the need to shit on AMerica all the time

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay @bmarvel When you post video clips and pictures of books, Donkey, is it because you have failed to think up an original argument of your own?

Then when the video clip or the book cover fails to win the argument, you fall back on raw insult. Is that because, once again, words fail you?

As far as I can tell, Donkey, there is nothing to distinguish you from Chatters, the Monkey. No mark of intelligence or coup of logic. Just foul mouths and empty heads. I'm beginning to suspect you are really the same person. If not, you really deserve each other.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Chattering_Monkey ... whines the belligerent war-mongering cunt.


List of countries the USA has bombed since the end of World War II

China 1945-46

Korea 1950-53

China 1950-53

Guatemala 1954

Indonesia 1958

Cuba 1959-60

Guatemala 1960

Belgian Congo 1964

Guatemala 1964

Dominican Republic 1965-66

Peru 1965

Laos 1964-73

Vietnam 1961-73

Cambodia 1969-70

Guatemala 1967-69

Lebanon 1982-84

Grenada 1983-84

Libya 1986

El Salvador 1981-92

Nicaragua 1981-90

Iran 1987-88

Libya 1989

Panama 1989-90

Iraq 1991

Kuwait 1991

Somalia 1992-94

Bosnia 1995

Iran 1998

Sudan 1998

Afghanistan 1998

Yugoslavia – Serbia 1999

Yemen 2002-2012

Somalia 2014

Afghanistan 2001- 2014

Pakistan 2006-2014

Libya 2011-


bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@ColonelAngus @bmarvel @Sotiredofitall @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz @DonkeyHotay

Every country thinks it is exceptional in some way, Colonel. American exceptionalists imagine that we are exceptional in every way, or in every way that counts. 

We've managed to devise a solid, workable Constitution. If we live by it. From time to time we recognize that the rule of law is necessary for the recognition of rights. That's a plus. We've amassed a good deal of wealth (not without exploitation) but we seem inept at the just distribution of that wealth. We've created the world's greatest military machine, but often used it unwisely.

If this adds up to exceptionalism, then I guess we are exceptional.

In other respects we don't seem exceptional at all. The same collection of hatred, greed, hubris, ignorance as most other human beings on the planet.  

My own hope is that we would do better, but I see little prospect of that. Especially in light of the fact that we already imagine ourselves to be exceptional.    

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@bmarvel ... no need for an "original" argument when the far wiser more poignant existing ones will do.


When you fail to acknowledge obvious defeat in an argument, do you secretly fantasize that you've won?


Now take your ball and run along home now, marvel.

Chattering_Monkey
Chattering_Monkey

@bmarvel @DonkeyHotay No Bill, we are not.  I have much more thoughful posts and can at least debate with you.  Donkey is an ignorant fool.  Gooddaytoyouboth

Chattering_Monkey
Chattering_Monkey

@DonkeyHotay @Chattering_Monkey What is your end game Donkey?  What are you trying to prove.  Are yo u some jihadi fuck or just a regular ole ingrate, only able to exist because of the rights of being a US citizen.  Or are you just some illegal living the good life on our dime. Go home Donkey you are drunk.

ColonelAngus
ColonelAngus

@bmarvel  "American exceptionalists imagine that we are exceptional in every way, or in every way that counts. "


Come on Bill, one would need to be severely challenged intellectually to assert that the US is exceptional in EVERY way.  To whom are you referring?


Agree with you on the rest of your post.



RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@bmarvel and some of us, to judge by the comments we post, believe ourselves to be exceptional to everyone else who frequents the internet.

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay @bmarvel  So happy, Donkey, that you find my arguments "poignant." 

I, in turn, find your's wistful, with a touch of melancholy. And, on occasion, plaintiff, or even tragicomic.

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@ColonelAngus @bmarvel I think the rhetoric of American exceptionalism is too often used to cover up American stupidity or greed or abuse of power. The "My country right or wrong"syndrome. 

I get tired of listening to the kind of folks who attack the AP test as dangerously "liberal" -- whatever that means --  natter on about this glorious land of ours and our "great generals" and our "crushing defeat" of Germany (as though we did it by ourselves) and our brave pioneers without considering that we got where we are largely by virtue of military conquest and slavery, and that our Constitution is only an exceptional accomplishment if and when we live up to it. 

Benjamin Franklin made that observation to a Mrs. Powell in 1787, right after the Constitutional Convention.


bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@RTGolden1 @bmarvel I guess everyone who posts here thinks of himself or herself as exceptional in some way, Golden.

There are those who call others "fool" or worse or who simply post "fuck you." There are those who blandly assert their views and expect everyone else to go along. There are those who attempt to persuade or argue. 

It's seems odd that just by take exception to a point, even vigorously, someone is seen as making himself or herself "exceptional" in some way. I thought that's what the comments section is all about. 

 

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@bmarvel ... sure Marvel, all your thoughts are "original" and not in any way derivative of all those books, ideas, theories, concepts and philosophies of OTHERS you've digested in life.



Chattering_Monkey
Chattering_Monkey

@DonkeyHotay I didnt bomb anything you ignorant fuckhead.  Glad to see you are a pussy, just wanting to sit back and do nothing and allow evil to its thing.  Go to Africa, catch some Ebola goon

ColonelAngus
ColonelAngus

@bmarvel  "I think the rhetoric of American exceptionalism is too often used to cover up American stupidity or greed or abuse of power. The "My country right or wrong syndrome."


Jingoism is for the simple-minded.  We can all agree on that, one would hope.  Humans are humans, American or otherwise.  But our forefathers have done some great things.  How many horrible diseases have we eradicated, not to mention the myriad advancements in medical technology produced in the last hundred years.  The PC and Mac are pretty cool, as are mobile phones.  Ford invented the assembly line for mass production.  We were first to the finish line with nuclear weapons, however you may feel about that.  Based on my readings it saved probably a million soldiers' lives since it prevented an invasion of the Japanese mainland.


Regarding the Constitution, IMO it has been so bastardized by the courts that it is nearly meaningless today.  The original intent, the plain language, and the thought process documented in the federalist papers are relics of the past not considered important by many SCOTUS justices for the past 60 years. 



DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@bmarvel "The "My country right or wrong"syndrome. "


Because most Americunts are too pig-ignorant to know or comprehend the ENTIRE quote --


“My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.” -- Carl Christian Schurz

emphasis added.

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay @bmarvel  ALL my thoughts, Donkey, are the product of everything I've read and been told by others, weighed against each other and against my own ideas and experiences. 

That's why I think it's a mark of intellectual immaturity to rely overly much on one authority. Chomsky, for example.

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@ColonelAngus @bmarvel There is so little that we might agree on, Colonel, that it hardly seems worthwhile to reply.

So I'll just single out one common error  that runs through your brief, and largely distorted, history of American technological triumphs. Behind each one were decades and often centuries of research by European scientists. The PC and the Mac were built firmly on the foundation of research reaching back to Charles Babbage and Alan Turing, both Brits. China was using assembly lines to produce agricultural tools and armor centuries before Henry Ford was born. Nuclear weapons -- The Bomb -- was largely the creature of foreign-born physicists who fled to our shores from Nazi persecution. 

Even our Constitution was the product of the Enlightenment, a European intellectual movement and an immigrant to our shores.

That's the problem with this notion of American "exceptionalism," Colonel.  We are exceptions to what, exactly? History? No man is an island, much less a whole nation.

 

 

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