APUSH in the Wrong Direction
The new Advanced Placement United States History curriculum (APUSH) is currently under debate. The College Board has assured the public that the changes only enhance the course. Let’s take a look at the course outline for APUSH to see if public concerns are legitimate. After all, people may have different opinions, but it we all have the same facts.
APUSH now focuses on “themes” and not specific content. This opens the door to an official infusion of what can be called a new American history in the mold of Howard Zinn, Thomas Bender, and the La Pietra Commission. Not surprisingly, the changes come under the guidance of David Coleman, new head of AP and chief architect of Common Core.
When you read the course outline, red flags emerge. It projects a distorted history from a globalist social justice perspective that undermines the values and traditions that made America a beacon of freedom and liberty.
APUSH utilizes “new knowledge,” a revisionist view that says the United States is the cause for the world’s ills. There is no longer a specific set of principles, values, traditions, concepts, and timeframes that create a unified historical story. APUSH is a loose set of “themes” that can be manipulated to allow nonsense to act as a substitute for context.
The following are just a few excerpts from the APUSH course outline that will directly guide teachers, textbooks, and tests.
“The content learning objectives for the AP U.S. History course and exam are organized under seven themes, Identity; Work, exchange, and technology; Peopling; Politics and power; America in the world; Environment and geography -- physical and human; Ideas, beliefs, and culture.”
Specific historical content is no longer on the syllabus but “Peopling” is a learning objective, seriously? Loose themes, that make the infusion of distorted historical interpretations, are tied to grievances which drive the agenda. In short, they have replaced Jamestown, Jefferson, and July 4th, with imperialism, exploitation, and environmentalism.
“The course provides opportunities for students to identify and evaluate diverse historical interpretations.”
When did factual history have multiple “interpretations?” Did Washington cross the Delaware or not?
“The AP U.S. History program outlined in this curriculum framework is the product of several years of research into current best practices in history education. The resulting program of study reflects a commitment to what teachers, professors, and researchers on history teaching and learning have agreed is the main goal of a college-level survey course in U.S. history”
The fact is that like-minded progressives all got together (see La Pietra Report) and decided on “best practices.” It is a ruse disguised as academic integrity.
“In order to accomplish this goal, the AP U.S. History course lays out a set of clear learning objectives that are then assessed on the AP Exam. To become proficient in these learning objectives, students will need to master the kinds of thinking skills used by historians in their study of the past and become familiar with contemporary scholarly perspectives on major issues in U.S. history.”
To pass the APUSH test, students must accept a false historical perspective or fail. This is at best indoctrination and at worst pure propaganda. “Learning” is not the only goal; demonstrating a “disposition” toward acceptance of a certain set of “correct” assumptions is the ultimate evaluation.
For example, the course theme and concept of identity can be discussed as both the denial and extension of political and economic rights to specific groups over different periods of time while simultaneously highlighting the heroic accomplishments of individuals during their struggle for recognition. A teacher might choose to examine the restrictions of rights during America’s wars in contrast to the opportunities for minorities to show their patriotism by serving in the armed forces, such as the internment of Japanese Americans”
APUSH is a drumbeat of race, class, and gender victimhood.
“Periodization has become increasingly relevant to U.S. history because recent historical researchers have challenged traditional ways of categorizing the past, particularly in relation to such underrepresented groups as American Indians.”
“Recent historical researchers” means the anointed who wish to change facts to align with their worldview. As long as the progressive ends justify the means they have no problem changing American history with the swipe of their curriculum pen.
“This is an opportunity for teachers to challenge students to…give a higher value to one group over another.”
It’s a history obsessed inequality and “value” judgments based on emotions and feelings instead of facts.
“Describe and evaluate diverse historical interpretations. To help students create their own interpretation of U.S. history,”
It’s a course where kids decide on historical fact and rewrite history as a fictional exercise.
“Historians have the added challenge of addressing “presentism,” or how contemporary ideas and perspectives are anachronistically introduced into depictions and interpretations of historical events.”
The guidelines are convoluted and written in progressive code. The authors actually make up words like ‘presentism’ and ‘anachronistically’ to try to sound intellectual to legitimize the altering of facts to fit their fraudulent narrative of history.
“The skill of interpretation becomes particularly important as student’s progress from describing what they are learning about past events to reflecting on assorted historical evidence in terms of contextual values and cultural bias.”
Here is where a social justice agenda shines through. It’s not about only learning, it’s about “reflecting” and acting on a set of values offered by liberal historians because the culture is “biased. For example: teach that Americans are institutionalized bigots who have “privilege” and should feel quilt.
“Increased focus on early and recent American history and decreased emphasis on other areas”
No longer is there systemic learning of history over time to show a true progression of events in context. The narrow focus is on early American ills juxtaposed against modern social justice goals.
And it gets worse. The course outline focuses on eight “Overarching Questions” that open the door to every politically correct notion of Anti-Americanism.
“How and why have debates over American national identity changed over time?”
It’s a course that says our “national identity’ is shameful not exceptional.
“How has gender, class, ethnic, religious, regional and other groups identities changed in different eras?”
It’s not a course on e-pluribus Unum it’s a course in “identity” politics, victimhood, and redistributed justice.
“How have debates over economic values and the role of government in the US economy affected politics, society, economy and the environment?”
It’s a course to direct students toward collective economies, big government, and environmentalism.
“Why have people migrated to, from, and within North America?”
It’s a course on immigration, exploitation, and the “false promise” of equality and opportunity.
“How have events in North America and the United States related to contemporary developments in the rest of the world?”
It’s a course teaching zero sum games where an imperialist America has used more than its “fair share” and bullied other nations.
“How did interactions with the natural environment shape the institutions and values of various groups living on the North American Continent?”
It’s a pro-Indian, anti-capitalism course that believes America has stolen the land and harmed the environment.
“How did economic and demographic changes affect the environment and lead to debates over use and control of the environment and natural resources?”
It’s a course on sustainability, recycling, renewable resources, and population control.
“How and why have moral, philosophical, and cultural values changed in what would become the United States?”
It’s a course that believes the United States is illegitimate immoral, and that its western values should be discredited.
Through its intentional open ended approach: APUSH is a slanted study of, gender, class, race, economic “values,” government “power,” immigration, globalization, environmentalism, and values clarification. It is a cynical, pessimistic, self-loathing journey to undermine the heritage that has built a great nation. This is not teaching how to think, it’s about teaching what to think.
APUSH is not the only curriculum that will be, or has been, infected with social justice idealism and feelgood dogma. Progressives have been pushing their agenda into America’s institutions for over a century in a futile attempt to build a utopia. Problem is: a utopia built without the understanding of freedom and liberty that America’s past provides is just a fancy name for a collectivist prison.