What’s Driving Conservatives Mad About the New AP History Course

Sep 1, 2014 by

As a high school history teacher for more than 40 years, Larry S. Krieger felt it was his duty to teach his students what made America great.

Before retiring in 2005, Krieger, 66, liked to begin his Advanced Placement U.S. History (APUSH) course each year with the story of John Winthrop, the early Puritan leader who famously called the new colonies a “city upon a Hill.”

“It sets the theme of American exceptionalism and the ideals of this country,” Krieger explained last week. He believed the taxpayers of New Jersey, where he spent most his long teaching career, weren’t paying him to be subversive or revisionist.

So Krieger was horrified last September when he read the new framework for APUSH, a course taught to around 500,000 high school juniors every year. It didn’t mention Winthrop, or Thomas Jefferson, or even Martin Luther King, Jr. Instead, Krieger read the new framework—which takes effect this fall—as pushing a revisionist view of American history that elides heroic individuals and emphasizes oppression and conflict.

Krieger got angry, then decided to fight back. For months he’s been raising awareness about the new curriculum. He has conservative activists on his side and just last week won the official support of the Republican Party.

The College Board, the nonprofit that administers Advanced Placement (AP) tests as well as the SAT, designed the new APUSH framework to foster critical thinking skills. The lengthy document outlines how the end-of-year AP exam, which typically earns well-performing high school students college credit, will test skills such as “periodization,” “contextualization,” and “comparison,” and themes, such as “identity,” “work, exchange, and technology,” and “America in the world.”

via What’s Driving Conservatives Mad About the New AP History Course.

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