National Review Alleges Conspiracy That ‘Politicized’ AP U.S. History Exam

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The National Review on Monday published a piece claiming that the College Board’s new framework for the AP U.S. History exam was the result of a leftist movement to change the way American history is taught.

“This Framework will effectively force American high schools to teach U.S. history from a leftist perspective,” Stanley Kurtz wrote for NRO. “The origins of the new AP U.S. History framework are closely tied to a movement of left-leaning historians that aims to ‘internationalize’ the teaching of American history.”

According to Kurtz, the College Board’s redesign of the exam is linked to an “attack on American exceptionalism” and “a highly politicized and left-leaning approach to American history.”

“The College Board’s new and vastly more detailed guidelines can only be interpreted as an attempt to hijack the teaching of U.S. history on behalf of a leftist political and ideological perspective,” he wrote. “The College Board has drastically eroded the freedom of states, school districts, teachers, and parents to choose the history they teach their children.”

Kurtz linked multiple of the framework’s authors to a “conclave of historians with a left-wing foreign policy agenda,” including Ted Dickson, AP U.S. history teacher in North Carolina.

“There was no political agenda,” Dickson told TPM on Tuesday. “There was no political motivation whatsoever. And in fact, a lot of the people involved in the process, I would argue, have been at different ends of the political spectrum.”

Dickson noted that his father was a Republican politician in elected office and that growing up he helped his father with his work. Dickson said that his approach to history is more about promoting “civic engagement.”

“I don’t care what your politics are as long as long as you’re actively involved trying to make the country a better place,” he said.

Conservatives have been criticizing the new framework for the exam since it was first released.

Larry Krieger, a retired history teacher, wrote a lengthy critique of the new framework in March. And in August, the Republican National Committee adopted a resolution condemning the exam framework’s “radically revisionist view of American history that emphasizes negative aspects of our nation’s history while omitting or minimizing positive aspects.”

Critics take issue with the exam’s “negative” view of history and the omission of certain historical figures and events from the framework, including some of the Founding Fathers.

Dickson disagreed. “The framework is not taking a point of view,” he said. “I don’t think there’s a negative view of the United States. I think that you could probably selectively pull a few things out of the framework if you wanted to try to claim that there is negativity, but you could probably try to do the same thing and show a positive interpretation.”

The College Board president and the authors of the new framework have defended the framework.

In an open letter last week, the authors wrote that much of the criticism has resulted from “a misunderstanding of U.S. history.” They said that they developed a more detailed framework based on input from AP history teachers who asked for more guidance on what would be in the exam.

The new framework does not remove any names or events, the authors argue. It allows teachers to fill in coursework with topics required in state standards. The exam focuses less on small details and more on analysis of documents and students’ ability to compare different historians’ points of view about an event.

“Debate and disagreement are central to the discipline of history, and thus to AP U.S. History as well,” the authors of the exam wrote. “The goal is to help students acquire a strong command of historical facts and then to be able to understand, formulate, and critique different interpretations of the past and of its meaning for today.”

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  1. "According to Kurtz, the College Board’s redesign of the exam is linked to an “attack on American exceptionalism” "

    American exceptionalism is a relatively new concept. So new that exceptionalism triggers spell check.

  2. The kooks come out at night.

  3. Avatar for sooner sooner says:

    Probably because the new exam omits very important events in the history of the white man in America.

    Things like God’s divine intervention in providing white folk nautical maps and an official property deed to the new world.

    Things like the native 'Murcans dying from diseases cause they chose to not worship the lord on Sundays. How could they have not known that the week had seven days and that the seventh was the lord’s day? Shame shame!

    And slavery? Why them negras was waiting in long lines to come here and be slaves! It’s true!!
  4. Wonder if the Conservatives know of the etymology of “American Exceptionalism” and the fact that the first recorded use of the phrase is credited to the American Communist Party in the 1920s.

    From wiki (this one is footnoted, so I will accept it)

    Although the concept of American exceptionalism dates to the 1830s the term was first used in the 1920s. The phrase “American exceptionalism” originates from the American Communist Party. The term comes from an English translation of a condemnation made in 1929 by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin criticizing Communist supporters of Jay Lovestone for the heretical belief that America was independent of the Marxist laws of history “thanks to its natural resources, industrial capacity, and absence of rigid class distinctions”.[7][11] Early examples of the term’s usage include a declaration made at the 1930 American Communist convention proclaiming that “the storm of the economic crisis in the United States blew down the house of cards of American exceptionalism”.[12]

    The phrase fell into obscurity for half a century, until it was popularized by American newspapers in the 1980s to describe America’s cultural and political uniqueness.[12] The phrase became an issue of contention between presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain in the 2008 presidential campaign, with Republicans attacking Obama for allegedly not believing in it.[13]

  5. How dumb does the Right want America to be?

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