Previously I have commented on the announcement by David Coleman of the College Board of the new SAT to be released in 2016, without much good to say about the so-called “improvements” that supposedly are designed to better reflect what students have actually studied in high school, but appear to be simply more “dumbing down” of standards.
Now comes the release of the Board’s new AP U. S. History Framework, a document that dictates how teachers should cover the required history topics with America’s brightest high school sophomores and juniors. In a comprehensive analysis entitled “The College Board’s Attack on American History”, Jane Robbins of the American Principles Project and retired U. S. history teacher Larry Krieger pull back the covers of this Framework to find that it is woefully deficient in a grounding in the lives and character of our founders, in our founding documents, and generally in the facts about our country’s development. Instead, according to the analysis, “The redesigned Framework inculcates a consistently negative view of American history by highlighting oppressors and exploiters while ignoring the dreamers and innovators who built our country”. In addition and maybe even worse, beyond the leftist slant, Robbins and Krieger write that the new Framework reflects “the general view that academic historical knowledge is unnecessary”.
G. K. Chesterton wrote: “Properly understood, history is a chronological map that shows us not only where we have come from but also where we are, and how we got here………..history can also be a prophet……..This, however, is only true if the chronological map is accurate. If it has been drawn by those with prejudiced perceptions or a prejudiced agenda it will only succeed in getting us lost. There are few things more dangerous than an inaccurate map, especially if we find ourselves in perilous terrain”.
For those who wonder where this kind of thing comes from that pollutes far too many of our public school classrooms and our so-called elite institutions of higher education, it primarily comes from the institutions held responsible for professionally training our teachers and with organizations like the College Board that should represent the gold standard for the criteria of the curriculum. As renowned classics professor Donald Kagan recently said in response to a related question, “……..the barbarians are not at the gates, they run the place……..there is no choice but to fight it, to fight it every way you know how as hard as you know how”.