The left has been doing this for a long time, as has been the right, so getting the history correct is crucial, and, as this article from the Ethics & Public Policy Center reports, much of what is correct about the history of our country as, for instance so well expressed in the Gettysburg Address, is under assault from the left, portraying—as has been done somewhat successfully portraying criminals as victims—the entire country as victims.
At the height of the “culture wars” of the late 1980s and early 1990s, conservatives were alive to the dangers of a leftist takeover of American higher education. Today, with the coup all but complete, conservatives take the loss of the academy for granted and largely ignore it. Meanwhile, America’s college-educated Millennial generation drifts ever farther leftward.
Now, however, an ambitious attempt to force a leftist tilt onto high-school U.S.-history courses has the potential to shake conservatives out of their lethargy, pulling them back into the education wars, perhaps to retake some lost ground.
The College Board, the private company that develops the SAT and Advanced Placement (AP) exams, recently ignited a firestorm by releasing, with little public notice, a lengthy, highly directive, and radically revisionist “framework” for teaching AP U.S. history. The new framework replaces brief guidelines that once allowed states, school districts, and teachers to present U.S. history as they saw fit.
The College Board has promised to generate detailed guidelines for the entire range of AP courses (including government and politics, world history, and European history), and in doing so it has effectively set itself up as a national school board. Dictating curricula for its AP courses allows the College Board to circumvent state standards, virtually nationalizing America’s high schools, in violation of cherished principles of local control. Unchecked, this will result in a high-school curriculum every bit as biased and politicized as the curriculum now dominant in America’s colleges.
Not coincidentally, David Coleman, the new head of the College Board, is also the architect of the Common Core, another effort to effectively nationalize American K–12 education, focusing on English and math skills. As president of the College Board, Coleman has found a way to take control of history, social studies, and civics as well, pushing them far to the left without exposing himself to direct public accountability.
Although the College Board has steadfastly denied that its new AP U.S. history (APUSH) guidelines are politically biased, the intellectual background of the effort indicates otherwise. The early stages of the APUSH redesign overlapped with a collaborative venture between the College Board and the Organization of American Historians to rework U.S.-history survey courses along “internationalist” lines. The goal was to undercut anything that smacked of American exceptionalism, the notion that, as a nation uniquely constituted around principles of liberty and equality, America stands as a model of self-government for the world.
Accordingly, the College Board’s new framework for AP U.S. history eliminates the traditional emphasis on Puritan leader John Winthrop’s “City upon a Hill” sermon and its echoes in American history. The Founding itself is demoted and dissolved within a broader focus on transcontinental developments, chiefly the birth of an exploitative international capitalism grounded in the slave trade. The Founders’ commitment to republican principles is dismissed as evidence of a benighted belief in European cultural superiority.
Retrieved October 31, 2014 from http://eppc.org/publications/a-hard-left-for-high-school-history/