ACLU Slams Colo. Ed Board’s ‘Deeply Problematic’ Patriotic AP History Plan

October 2, 2014 1:14 pm

The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, along with seven other groups, on Wednesday wrote a letter to the Jefferson County, Colo. school board expressing concern over the board’s “deeply problematic” proposal to ensure that the AP U.S. History course is “patriotic.”

“The board’s attempt to monitor school curricula to promote certain viewpoints means privileging the beliefs of some individuals over others,” the groups wrote in the letter. “It is precisely this form of viewpoint discrimination by government that our constitutional system is designed to prevent.”

Following conservative outcry over the College Board’s new “revisionist” framework for the AP U.S. History exam, the Jefferson County board of education proposed the creation of a new curriculum committee to address the course, among others.

The original proposal tasked the committee with making sure the course materials promote “patriotism” and “citizenship” and that the class does “not encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law.”

The board will discuss the proposal in a Thursday meeting. Since the original plan, the board has removed the text about “patriotism” and “civil disorder.” However, the measure still requires the committee to identify “materials that may reasonably be deemed to be objectionable.”

Students, parents and teachers in Jefferson County have voiced opposition to the new curriculum plan. Students are worried that the course will no longer cover civil rights movements and amounts to censorship. They have staged massive protests and walk-outs over the issue.

In the letter the ACLU, the National Coalition Against Censorship and other organizations take issue with the board’s attempt to promote patriotism and remove material about “civil disorder.” They wrote that telling teachers to remove civil disorder from curricula “is tantamount to telling them to abandon the teaching history.”

They also wrote that flagging materials “deemed to be objectionable” will invite “the exclusion of such material.”

Students plan on attending the school board meeting on Thursday evening to protest the new curriculum proposal.

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