The Advanced Placement United States History exam came under fire for major revision which incorporated Progressive bias as fact. The outcry was surprisingly loud enough to cause a re-write of the revision to allegedly make it more accurate and neutral in view.
It turns out, however, that the test is anything but a lesson in American Exceptionalism:
“While the College Board has thrown in a mention of American exceptionalism to placate critics, the framework itself continues to focus on globalism, culture-mixing, gender identity, migration, environmentalism, and such. America’s sense of principled mission, its unique blending of religious and democratic commitment, its characteristic emphasis on local government, the high cultural esteem in which economic enterprise is held, and America’s distinctive respect for individual liberty, are neither stressed nor contrasted with other countries to highlight the American difference.
“The 2014 APUSH framework, for example, was notorious for repeatedly contrasting the mixed racial unions of the Spanish colonies with the ‘rigid racial hierarchy’ of the English colonies. That controversial cultural comparison is gone now, although a de-sexualized reference to Spanish colonial culture-mixing remains. Yet the more traditional and significant comparison between the democratic, localist, and individualist traditions of the British colonies, on the one hand, and Spanish colonial authoritarianism, on the other, is omitted.
“As Schweikart points out, the revised framework neglects the influence of English common law, and the ways in which common law, with its peculiar accommodation to individual initiative and local variation, influenced the American character. I’ve already shown how reluctant the College Board is to highlight the overwhelming influence of European culture on the colonial experience. The same is true of early America’s distinctively British heritage.
“The traditional trinity for American students was Western Civilization, English history, and American history. Yet the APUSH framework remains reluctant to acknowledge the distinctive character, much less the achievements, of either Western, British, or American culture. A contrived theme on American national identity has been added as a way of placating critics. But in actual content, the framework remains focused on globalism, culture-mixing, and migration.
“And as Schweikart points out, the concerns voiced in the scholars’ statement about the demotion of military and diplomatic history continue to go unaddressed. The focus remains on globalism, gender, migration, environmentalism, and various group identities. As far as I can tell, the framework doesn’t even mention the War of 1812, let alone any of its battles. That doesn’t mean students will never hear about the War of 1812, but it does indicate the College Board’s priorities. Religion is not entirely absent from the framework, but it certainly doesn’t get the constant emphasis that fashionable topics like migration and group identity receive.”
Because most colleges and universities use Advanced Placement results, and many schools honors classes double for A.P. classes, this gives the writers of the Advanced Placement tests a monopoly on shaping young men and women:
“Competition is the real issue. No company likes rivals, but the College Board is more than an ordinary monopoly. There is an ideological as well as an economic motivation behind the College Board’s actions. Run by Common Core architect David Coleman, the College Board is committed to creating a de facto national curriculum. That is why it is slowly but surely substituting lengthy and highly directive curricular frameworks for brief topical outlines in every single one of its AP courses.”
Because of this there are scant few A.P. history teachers who will stand up against this:
“The reason we haven’t yet heard from teachers who object to the College Board’s newly imposed left-leaning curricula is that open criticism entails serious risks. The College Board certifies AP teachers, approves their syllabi, and pays many of them to grade the essay portions of its exams. So it’s rare when one of the teachers who quietly opposes the College Board’s current direction can risk coming forward. Fortunately for us, Altham has decided to do so.”
And down the memory hole America goes…