Common Core Architect David Coleman's Next Deception: The New AP U.S. History Exam

Polls increasingly show that as more Americans learn about the Common Core standards, they don’t like what they see. Hopefully, Americans will feel the same way as they learn more about how the new Advanced Placement (AP) U.S. History exam will decimate the teaching of traditional American history, turning it into a leftist view of an America that is based on identity politics rather than a Constitution meant to protect the rights of individual freedoms.

The new AP U.S. History exam has been authorized under David Coleman, known as the “architect” of the Common Core standards and, now, the president of the College Board, the organization responsible for the SAT college entrance exam and the various Advanced Placement exams.

Conservative commentator Stanley Kurtz, a contributing editor for National Review Online, wrote on Thursday about the secretive manner in which the AP U.S. History exam was rolled out as well as the significance of this new exam.

“We are witnessing a coordinated, two-pronged effort to effectively federalize all of American K-12 education, while shifting its content sharply to the left,” Kurtz states.

He explains that while the College Board under Coleman has put on a public display of a lengthy “framework” for the new AP U.S. History exam, that framework actually contains only a few sample questions.

“Sources tell me, however, that a complete sample exam has to be released, although only to certified AP U.S. History teachers,” Kurtz continues. “Those teachers have been warned, under penalty of law and the stripping of their AP teaching privileges, not to disclose the content of the new sample AP U.S. History exam to anyone.”

Perhaps Coleman’s method of operations with the AP U.S. History exam is more recognizable now since it is one and the same as the method used in stifling public access to the Common Core standards. With the latter, English and Language Arts expert Dr. Sandra Stotsky and mathematician Dr. James Milgram, who were both invited to be members of the Common Core Validation Committee -- apparently for little more than to serve as “window dressing” -- said they were sworn to secrecy not to reveal discussions at their meetings with the committee. Subsequently, their recommendations regarding the standards were then promptly ignored by Coleman and the other lead writers.

Public access to the Common Core standards was also curtailed through a liaison with the federal government in which states could be enticed into adopting the standards by dangling federal funding and the promise of relief from federal No Child Left Behind restrictions in front of their eyes.

Without much ado, 45 state boards of education, having been strengthened in power over local school boards through years of legislation as well as a useful relationship with the U.S. Department of Education, adopted the unproven, untested standards -- sight unseen.

Coleman’s achievement of keeping Common Core from public and media scrutiny is extraordinary when considering that the standards were developed by three private organizations in Washington, D.C.: the National Governors Association (NGA), the Council for Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), and progressive education company Achieve Inc. All three organizations were privately funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and none of these groups are accountable to parents, teachers, students, or taxpayers.

In addition, there is no official information about who selected the individuals to write the Common Core standards. None of the writers of the math and English Language Arts standards have ever taught math, English, or reading at the K-12 level. In addition, the Standards Development Work Groups did not include any members who were high school English and mathematics teachers, English professors, scientists, engineers, parents, state legislators, early childhood educators, and state or local school board members.

With his attention now turned to the AP U.S. History exam, Coleman is simply repeating a method that worked well for him with Common Core.

“This is clearly an effort to silence public debate over these heavily politicized and illegitimately nationalized standards,” writes Kurtz. “If the complete sample test was available, the political nature of the new test would become evident. Public scrutiny of the sample test would also expose potential conflicts between the new exam and existing state standards.”

Another deception observed by Kurtz is the College Board’s claim that the highly controlled new framework for AP U.S. History can be adapted according to the preferences of individual states, school districts, and teachers.

Once again, the parallel here is the now predictable pro-Common Core talking point that “the standards are not curriculum.” Supporters of the controversial standards claim teachers and local school districts can choose whichever curriculum they desire to comply with the standards. Of course, if they want their students to pass the Common Core-aligned tests, their best bet is to choose Common Core-aligned textbooks and lesson plans, which means content will be coming from those.

Regarding the AP U.S. History exam, Kurtz says that while it is true that the new AP framework allows teachers to include their own examples, the framework “also insists that the examples must be used to illustrate the themes and concepts behind the official College Board vision.”

Consequently, Kurtz observes:

The upshot is that James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and the other founders are largely left out of the new test, unless they are presented as examples of conflict and identity by class, gender, race, ethnicity, etc. The Constitution can be studied as an example of the Colonists’ belief in the superiority of their own culture, for instance. But any teacher who presents a full unit on the principles of the American Constitution taught in the traditional way would be severely disadvantaging his students. So while allowing some minor flexibility on details, the new AP U.S. History framework effectively forces teachers to train their students in a leftist, blame-America-first reading of history, while omitting traditional treatments of our founding principles.

Fortunately, leading the charge against Coleman’s latest deception, the new AP U.S. History exam, is Texas, which comprises about 10 percent of the College Board’s market.

As Kurtz explains, Ken Mercer, a member of the Texas School Board, is attempting to introduce a resolution that would rebuke and reject the new AP U.S. History exam. Mercer is being told, however, that the resolution cannot be introduced until September, when it will be too late.

Considering that if Texas could reject the new AP History exam the entire project could be cast into limbo, Ken Mercer needs to introduce his resolution.

Kurtz urges Texans to demand that Mercer’s resolution be introduced and passed as soon as possible. Meanwhile, the other 49 states should demand similar action.

“The public should also insist that the College Board release its heretofore secret sample AP U.S. History test for public scrutiny and debate,” Kurtz adds. “There is no excuse for withholding this test from the public.”

"The controversy over the AP U.S. History Test is going to transform the national battle over Common Core,” Kurtz told Breitbart News. “The changes to the AP U.S. History Exam, enforced by none other than David Coleman, architect of the Common Core, confirm widespread fears that the Common Core will lead to politicized indoctrination.”

“Up to now, Coleman and his allies have done their best to avoid overtly ideological moves,” he continued. “Now they've tipped their hand. The AP controversy is going to energize the anti-Common Core forces and push this battle to a whole new level.”

“The AP controversy will also make it vastly harder for anyone to claim that Common Core is a conservative reform,” Kurtz added. “Battle lines will soon harden and the controversy over K-12 education in America is about to take off."

According to Education Views, Texans are alerted to contact the Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office and urge him to stop the AP U.S. History exam from being implemented this fall. More information can be found here.


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