AP US History debate: Dancing to an idiot's music

I can't believe they're even listening to this guy:

"These professors had an agenda. We've already alluded to it. Basically, they saw America not as an exceptional nation but one nation among many in a global society," said Larry Krieger, a former high school history teacher and opponent of the standards.

Krieger, who has authored a test preparation book on the AP exam and written critiques of the new course for conservative websites such as Breitbart.com, has become one of the leading voices calling for additions to the AP U.S. history guidelines. He also argues that the new guidelines are incomplete – failing to include study of important historical documents such as the Magna Carta.

Dude, the Magna Carta was penned eight hundred years ago across the Atlantic Ocean, long before Europeans "discovered" America, and even longer before they rose slightly above their ignorance and declared it independent of the crown. If you taught that document in your US History class, that goes a long way to explaining the "former high school history teacher" status.



No longer content with just a war on education

the tea party loons are now going for full-out indoctrination.

What used to be the lunatic fringe is now the GOP mainstream.

"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014

It does smell a lot like

how the Communist Party faithful in the Soviet Union went about re-writing history every decade or so. The rounding up and disappearing of the Kulaks? Never happened. Red Army purge? Don't know what you're talking about.


I saw this post and was immediately transported back to 2004. This fresh-faced thirtysomething had the pleasure of taking a few Government courses taught by a top Federalist Society lawyer. One section of one of those courses sticks with me to this day.

The professor's argument went as such: People see the Declaration of Independence as the precursor to the Constitution because Lincoln romanticized it at Gettysburg. The Magna Carta, in actuality, is the document that better encapsulates the thinking of the founders. The Bill of Rights should not be considered at all by Constitutional scholars or courts as it served a singular, unrelated purpose. The only document, if any, that should be used to interpret Constitutional intent, is the Magna Carta.

That was the gist. Feel free to discuss among yourselves and/or bang your head against a solid object.

Magna Carta

Schmagna Schmarta.

I have it on the excellent authority of many well known people, including several NC elected officials, that the only document that should be used to interpret Constitutional intent is the Holy Bible. Or at least those particular sections of it that they happen to subscribe to.

Let's continue the discussion among ourselves. This head banging is painful.

"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014

He had it backwards

As revisionists often do. The Magna Carta was written to address specific grievances, in an effort to bring hostilities to an end. And those grievances came mostly from Barons and other landed gentry, who were more concerned with holding on to power than disbursing it among the peasantry. You'll find much more relevant (democracy-related) writings from the pre-Jesus Greeks.

All that said, the Magna Carta was mentioned more than once by the Founding Fathers in their deliberations, so it might warrant a little coverage in studies of the Continental Congress.

I attended two meetings on

I attended two meetings on APUSH this week. That is, Advanced Placement United States History.

For one brief, shining moment this afternoon I thought, A ha! 'Problem' solved! But it was not to be!

Yesterday, I sat with the State Board of Education as they listened to presentations from Larry Krieger, who opposes the new framework created to guide teachers in planning their curriculum for teaching AP US history, and Larry Williamson, of the College Board, who defended the same.

The College Board reappraises its AP classes from time to time, to make sure what is being taught to high school students is the same as what is being taught in a college class. We don't want the high school students to get left behind as colleges move on. A group comprised of high school AP teachers and college professors worked together to create the new framework. It is not intended to replace the previous framework but to work with it, so not all terms on the current framework were included on the new one--it would seem to be understandable to everyone that Abraham Lincoln's Ghettysburg Address is so important it must be taught whether it is specified or not. To Mr. Krieger, that is not enough. Each and every thing to be taught must be listed. And that is the first strike against the new framework.

The second strike is that one of the professors who worked on the standards is a liberal.

And the third is that the new framework allows that the US is not the only country that exists in the world, it has made mistakes and done wrong, and that the tone of the words used in the framework are negative.

Today I sat in on the Education Oversight Committee, but first a bit of background.
You now have to know that a few years ago our NCGA created a list of Founding Principles and enacted law requiring these principles be taught. The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) has followed through on that requirement. Dr. June Atkinson appeared today at the Education Oversight Committee meeting at NCGA and explained how all the Founding Principles ( which can be found here http://www.ncpublicschools.org/docs/acre/standards/new-standards/social-studies/american-history-1.pdf)
are covered in a class now called American History I, and that DPI would like NCGA to let them change the name of the course to American History, Founding Principles: Civics and Economics. That would make the information taught in that class more readily apparent to all.

The Founding Principles cover the issues and phrases Larry Krieger claims have been left out of APUSH. In fact they more than cover his objections. And for that brief, shining moment after Dr. Atkinson spoke, I thought, Wow! Issue solved! The kids, all of them, no opt outs allowed, are required to take the Founding Principles class and then those who want to can go ahead and take the APUSH class, too. They are separate, after all. And everyone would get to hear the magic phrases Magna Carta, Manifest Destiny, and American Exceptionalism.

When the Ed Oversight Committee ended I approached a Representative who had been present yesterday at the State School Board meeting. I knew he had heard everything I had heard, the cons and the pros, and I said to him, given Dr. Atkinson's presentation it would seem there is really no need to get upset about the APUSH framework at all! Dontcha' think! It's all covered!

Well, not necessarily… he replied… the Devil is in the details…. I'd have to find out more before giving an opinion…. And to my surprise he went on to suggest there is no guarantee teachers are actually teaching the Principles in their classrooms….

What a let down! Such an easy solution. And it is already in place. And working. But somehow, it is just not quite good enough.

And that, Steve, is why complaints about the APUSH framework, brought to you by the same people who hated the Common Core, are going to continue to pester NCGA during the coming session. And that is why we know, for a certainty, that the reason it stays alive is ideological, not educational.

Brilliant summary

as usual Vicki. Thank you!

"The devil is in the details" and "well, y'know, teachers might not actually be teaching what they are required to teach" are lame cop-outs from a representative who must realize that your statement made complete sense, but he/she can't agree with it because of ideology. Not facts, not about educating kids (as you point out), but "because freedom. And them liberals. Obama! Benghazi!"


"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014


If there's no guarantee that teachers are teaching what they are required to teach, why all the fuss? If the loons mandate their indoctrination version of APUSH, what's to guarantee that those rogue teachers will teach it?


"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014