The College Board, under President David Coleman, the “architect” of the Common Core standards, said in a statement last week that it “supports the actions taken by students in Jefferson County, Colo., to protest a school board member’s request to censor aspects of the AP U.S. History course.”
As reported by Education Week, the College Board, which administers the Advanced Placement tests, referred to the protesting students as “courageous” and continued:
To offer a course labeled “AP” or “Advanced Placement,” a school must agree to meet the expectations set for such courses by the more than 3,300 colleges and universities across the globe that use AP Exam scores for credit, placement, or consideration in the admission process.
As vital context for the courageous voices of the students in Colorado, the AP community, our member institutions and the American people can rest assured: If a school or district censors essential concepts from an Advanced Placement course, that course can no longer bear the “AP” designation.
The College Board’s statement serves to feed into the erroneous message presented to students by their teachers – who are really angry about a new merit-pay system and have let their students know that. Through its statement that the students are protesting “a school board member’s request to censor aspects of the AP U.S. History course,” the College Board has remarkably demonstrated its ability to twist history.
School board member Julie Williams proposed a review of the new APUSH framework, and review is a normal function of the school board, according to both the Colorado Constitution and school district policies.
Nevertheless, according to one of the College Board’s own executives, the new AP U.S. History framework skews heavily to left-wing points of view, and includes continued use of Howard Zinn’s Marxist textbook A People’s History of the United States, which has been largely discredited.
“It’s very difficult, given the dominance of liberal perspectives in college and high school history departments, for faculty committees to avoid unintentionally muting, eliding, or obfuscating the perspectives of the right,” Trevor Packer, senior vice president of the College Board, told Rick Hess of American Enterprise Institute (AEI), writing at Education Week.
In his review of concerns about the leftist lurch of the APUSH framework, Hess writes:
[T]he coloration is especially evident when things get partisan, as in the treatment of prominent Democratic and Republican presidents. FDR and LBJ are discussed in glowing terms, variously battling to “provide relief to the poor,” “stimulate recovery,” “end racial discrimination,” and “eliminate poverty.” Indeed, the framework explains that “liberal ideals were realized” with the expansion of “democracy and individual freedoms,” only to trigger backlash from conservatives who “mobilized to defend traditional visions of morality” (whatever that means) and “the proper role of state authority.” Indeed, where FDR and LBJ are warriors for justice, Reagan is described as a man of “bellicose rhetoric” who later “developed a friendly relationship” with Gorbachev. There is no sign of cause and effect, much less any discussion of Reagan’s efforts on taxes, regulation, or much else.
In 2013, David Coleman’s College Board not only praised the collection of student data via the Common Core standards, but also welcomed members of Organizing for America (OFA) to that data collection effort. OFA was Barack Obama’s re-election campaign, which, Coleman said, would reach out to low-income and Latino students.
In the video below, newly elected College Board President Coleman confirms that the Common Core standards were not “state-led,” as he and many proponents of the education initiative still assert:
“When I was involved in convincing governors and others around this country to adopt these standards,” Coleman stated, “it was not ‘Obama likes them.’ Do you think that would have gone well with the Republican crowd?”
“As you think about your power and your force in this world, let’s remember who really won the election. Shall we call it Nate Silver?” Coleman went on to say.
In addition to liberal pollster Silver, Coleman welcomed Obama’s re-election campaign chief analytics officer Dan Wagner, national deputy director of OFA and leader of “Turning Texas Blue” campaign Jeremy Bird, as well as other Democrat operatives to the new student data collection efforts.
To be clear, Coleman is the person now running the College Board, which has written the new APUSH framework. Why shouldn’t the new APUSH framework be reviewed?
“[M]uch of it reads like an anachronism–like American history as distilled by professors with a taste for 21st century identity politics,” continues Hess:
For instance, the framework repeatedly refers to “whites” (as opposed to Native Americans or Africans) for much of the 18th and 19th century, which is a bizarre way to treat the immense divisions between Anglos, Irish, and the rest. Discussion of Catholicism and anti-Catholic sentiment is essentially absent. Special attention is paid to Mexican immigrants in the 1930s and 1940s (a relatively tiny population), yet the crucial Irish-Italian tensions of the early 20th century are entirely absent. One typical example notes that late 19th century “business leaders consolidated corporations into trusts” (presumably on an evil whim, since there were apparently no other forces at work) and then defended their “resulting status and privilege through theories such as Social Darwinism”–rather than, say, in less loaded terms like thrift, hard work, self-discipline, or merit.
In much the same way that Obamacare was written years before it was passed–and taken up legislatively when a leftist president could assure its success–Stanley Kurtz, at National Review Online, says the same about APUSH.
“This attempt to nationalize a leftist American history curriculum by way of the College Board has been in the works for years,” he writes. “The Board made its move, however, shortly after selecting David Coleman, architect of the Common Core, as its new president.”
“I and many others have been concerned that a de facto federalizing of the K-12 curriculum through the Common Core would create an opening for those seeking to nationalize leftist indoctrination in our schools,” Kurtz adds. “Coleman’s role in formally authorizing and supervising the AP U.S. History changes only heightens these concerns.”