DALLAS, Texas — On September 16, at 10am, Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) member from District 5, Ken Mercer will present a resolution stipulating that Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses must reflect the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), the state’s public education standards, which they do not because of the College Board’s radical revamp of AP US History (APUSH). Public comment will be allowed and is encouraged. Mercer is asking for the public’s support to join him in Austin.
This resolution was prompted by the College Board’s hard left turn on course content in the new APUSH framework. The Mercer Resolution, thus, requests that the College Board rewrite the APUSH course and exam “in a transparent manner to accurately reflect U. S. history without a political bias and to respect the sovereignty of Texas over its education curriculum.”
The new framework has come under fire nationally. American Principles Project’s Jane Robbins, retired APUSH teacher Larry Krieger, and theNational Review’s Stanley Kurtz have done much to expose the framework’s highly politicized agenda that undermines traditional American and Western cultural values by omitting expansive time periods, pivotal heroes and villains, plus the events at home and abroad that shaped American history. Breitbart News has covered APUSH extensively.
Mercer’s bold step in creating the resolution follows his lead as the voice of the APUSH pushback in Texas, asserting that the new framework is in direct violation with the Texas Education Code, which states, “A primary purpose of the public school curriculum is to prepare thoughtful, active citizens who understand the importance of patriotism and can function productively in a free enterprise society with appreciation for the basic democratic values of our state and national heritage,” according to the resolution.
However, this is only a first step. The board must approve the resolution before it can move onto the Texas Legislature. Mercer is asking taxpayers and parents for their support.
“Please call your SBOE members to support the Mercer Resolution. Forward the resolution onto the State House and Senate Members and ask for their support in the next Texas Legislative session in January,” he said.
Mercer told Breitbart Texas that he is also working with Rep. Marty Rowley (R-Amarillo) on how to enforce that Texas educators teach the TEKS whether it be APUSH or anyother AP course.
Because of the broader implications of such a resolution, education advocate and retired Texas teacher Donna Garner has called upon all Texans and Americans who oppose the College Board’s APUSH changes to support the Mercer Resolution.
She wrote, “It is not necessary for you to be a Texan to show your support for the resolution since the new and objectionable APUSH course is being forced by the College Board into schools throughout this nation.”
In Texas, the new APUSH would force teachers to ignore the TEKS to prepare students for the AP end-of-course exam. Texas represents 10percent of the total number of students who take AP courses each year nationwide. The passage of the Mercer Resolution by the Texas Legislature would send a powerful, if not a game changing message, to the College Board on behalf of all 50 states.
The College Board, a private, non-elected organization, has total control over AP and does not take into account the TEKS, according to the resolution. College Board president, David Coleman, was appointed to the post by President Obama. Besides his role at the College Board, Coleman is often called the architect of the Common Core State Standards. Even though Texas rejected the Common Core, high school students still take the college entrance exams SAT and ACT, aligned by Coleman to the Common Core State Standards, posing a similar philosophical clash with the TEKS.
The Mercer Resolution, however, itemizes all the content infractions that violate the Texas education code and calls out the sample released APUSH exam for slanting student’s viewpoints through “behavioral testing techniques, to promote a negative, anti-American bias toward U.S. History.” The resolution spotlights the recommended reading of the Howard Zinn’s “revisionist history” textbook “The People’s Guide to US History” and the “biased and inaccurate view of many important events in American history, including the motivations and actions of 17th– through 19th-century settlers, American involvement in World War II, the free-enterprise economic explosion in the 1940s through 1960s, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the development of Cold War tensions and ultimate fall of the Iron Curtain, and the successful landing of a man on the moon.”
The resolution touches upon the problematic paradox of what is considered testable “required knowledge” by the College Board and what is teachable untested knowledge that influences how the class would be taught. The Mercer Resolution can be read in its entirety. The TEA released document follows this story.
In 1995, another resolution, the Gorton Resolution, brought down the voluntary National Social Studies Project, which depicted all of Western Civilization in an unflattering light. In a vote of 99-1, the US Senate rejected those revisionist standards which were championed by Diane Ravitch, as Breitbart Texas reported. In moving it forward, the Mercer Resolution may well have the teeth to take a similar bite out of the College Board’s new APUSH.
The public hearing before the State Board of Education (SBOE) is scheduled for Tuesday, September 16, 2014, at 10am, in the William B. Travis Building, Room 1-104. Oral testimony will be limited to two minutes, and speakers are asked to provide 35 copies of their testimony for distribution. The resolution will be put up for discussion and, potentially, a vote on Friday, September 19.
Follow Merrill Hope on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.