Published Online: August 28, 2014

Lawmakers call for hearing on new history course

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The heads of two state legislative committees have asked the State Board of Education to hold a hearing to address alleged concerns about a new advanced placement U.S. history course.

Republican Sen. Dolores Gresham of Somerville oversees the Senate Education Committee and Republican Mike Bell of Riceville heads the Senate Government Operations Committee.

The Commercial Appeal ( reports that the lawmakers wrote a joint letter to the board questioning whether the course "emphasizes negative aspects while omitting or minimizing the positive" aspects of American history.

AP course frameworks are developed by the private College Board — which also administers college entrance exams — and offered across the United States by participating high schools. The courses cover college-level content and students who pass the end-of-course tests receive both high school and college credit and don't have to take the same courses in college.

In their letter, the lawmakers said "members of the General Assembly have received an increasing number of messages from constituents" about AP courses, including "complaints of inappropriate materials, inaccurate textbooks and revisionist history."

They asked the board "to address the public concerns and conduct a review of the framework and materials used in all Advanced Placement courses taught in Tennessee classrooms."

James Teague, superintendent of Fayette County Schools in Gresham's home county, said his office has "not received a single complaint or concern" about AP U.S. history offered in his school system and that Gresham had not contacted him about the issue. State Department of Education spokeswoman Kelli Gauthier said her agency has received no formal complaints either.

David Sevier, deputy executive director of the State Board of Education, said the board has received less than 10 emails specifically about AP U.S. history.

The letter asked the board to submit its findings and recommendations to the Legislature before its opening in January.

Sevier said the board will work with Gresham and Bell to try to narrow the focus of their request.

"We're pretty confident it's a situation we can work with," he said.


Information from: The Commercial Appeal,

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