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In 2012, the College Board, a nonprofit that runs the SAT and Advanced Placement programs, revised their Advanced Placement U.S. History (APUSH) course. This class, which allows high school students to gain college credit, would focus more on critical thinking and less on memorization. Historians created the framework, and most high school teachers have approved it.
Starting in the summer of 2014, however, it sent several states into an uproar. Their grievance? It portrays the United States in too negative a light and fails to promote "American exceptionalism." Conservative lawmakers also condemned the course material as liberally biased due to its "emphasis on race, gender, class, ethnicity, grievance and American-bashing" (qtd. in The Hechinger Report). Because of this, Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Georgia, and other states have attempted to revise, replace, and cut funding for APUSH.
The groups that deserve the most say in this issue, like scholars, students, teachers, and the College Board, have fought back, arguing the coursework is neither unpatriotic nor biased. It encourages students to examine our nation's complex history in context, think critically, and form personal opinions about various events. This kind of thinking is necessary, not only for a college-level course, but also for our country's future. If we want to raise an intelligent, well-informed generation, students need to learn history, not nationalistic propaganda.
Politicians argue the APUSH curriculum will indoctrinate students with a liberal agenda. In reality, they are trying to force their "America the Great" views onto students.
Show your support for the College Board and tell the Department of Education that states should not defund, revise, or replace an optional course on the grounds of patriotism. Our children should learn how to think, not what to think.
Dear Secretary Arne Duncan:
Beginning in the summer of 2014, Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Georgia, and other states grew outraged over the College Board's Advanced Placement U.S. History (APUSH) course. Some threatened to cut the program's funding, while others devised revisions or replacements. The uproar stemmed from claims that the curriculum was "unpatriotic." Legislators believed the course's curriculum portrayed our country in too negative a light.
The argument these politicians stir, however, is unfounded. The APUSH course encourages critical thinking about historical events, including events in which our nation does not take pride. Classes like this are of utmost importance. History tends to repeat itself, and as a result, our future leaders need to be aware of our nation's past mistakes so they can actively try to avoid making them again. To do this, we must raise a generation of critical thinkers.
Please pass a measure preventing states from defunding, revising, or replacing courses on the grounds of patriotism. Our children should be taught how to think, not what to think.
Thank you for your consideration.