College & Workforce Readiness

Republican National Committee Condemns New AP History Framework

By Catherine Gewertz — August 11, 2014 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

UPDATED

The Republican National Committee is calling for a fight against the College Board’s new framework for Advanced Placement U.S. History, claiming that it “deliberately distorts and/or edits out important historical events.”

The new framework “reflects a radically revisionist view of American history that emphasizes negative aspects of our nation’s history while omitting or minimizing positive aspects,” said a resolution adopted by the RNC on Friday at its summer meeting in Chicago.

The resolution demands that the College Board delay for at least one year its plan to debut the framework in high schools this fall. It urges that a committee be convened to draft a new AP U.S. history framework that is “consistent both with the APUSH course’s traditional mission, with state history standards, and with the desires of U.S. parents and other citizens for their students to learn the true history of their country.” And it calls on Congress to “investigate this matter” and withhold any funding to the College Board until a suitable framework is produced.

Asked for a response to the RNC resolution, College Board spokeswoman Carly Lindauer said in an email that the new AP U.S. history framework, developed and “overwhelmingly supported by” college faculty and expert AP teachers, is “built to be flexible.”

“It allows for a focus on state priorities, as well as teacher and parent choices that best fit the needs of their individual students,” she wrote. “The new course emphasizes the American founding documents and their essential role in our nation’s history, and recognizes American heroism, courage, and innovation. College Board leaders continue to meet with individuals who have concerns about the redesign to listen and receive feedback.”

More information about the redesign of the framework can be found on a special page on the College Board’s website. UPDATE: Troubled by the controversy, College Board President David Coleman released to the public a practice AP U.S. history test. Practice tests are typically only released to certified AP teachers. He also announced that the College Board will issue “clarifications” about the new framework.

Conservative opposition to the new APUSH framework has been circulating with increasing intensity in recent weeks, culminating in an “open letter” to College Board President David Coleman on Aug. 4. The letter, posted by the conservative groups American Principles in Action and Concerned Women for America, demands a one-year delay in use of the framework, and a return to the brief “topic outline” that was previously used to guide AP U.S. history instruction. As of this afternoon, that letter had garnered more than 1,000 signatures.

The letter takes the framework to task for its “negative” approach to U.S. history. As an example, it attacks the framework for portraying U.S. colonists as “oppressors and exploiters while ignoring the dreamers and innovators who built our country.” The signatories also say that at 98 pages, the framework essentially replaces the five-page topic outline with a full-blown curriculum, and one that conflicts with many states’ social studies standards.

As conservatives have circulated the letter, they’ve also been writing and circulating strategies for opposition to the new framework. Concerned Women For America, for instance, has an action plan posted on its website.

Opponents to the framework are giving a particularly high profile to support they’ve gleaned from scholars. A highly critical analysis by Peter Wood, the president of the National Association of Scholars, who calls the framework “radical” and “a complete overhaul of the Advanced Placement course in U.S. History,” has also been widely circulated.

When my colleague Liana Heitin reported in May on the changes planned for the APUSH course and exam, she noted that the revamped course would be more specific about which historical details should be covered, and would emphasize “historical thinking skills.” The College Board is also reworking its courses in European history and art history for use in the fall of 2015.

Related Tags:

A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

College & Workforce Readiness Opinion Can College-Going Be Less Risky Without Being 'Free'?
Rick Hess speaks with Peter Samuelson, president of Ardeo Education Solutions, about Ardeo's approach to make paying for college less risky.
5 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
College & Workforce Readiness Opinion What Will It Take to Get High School Students Back on Track?
Three proven strategies can support high school graduation and postsecondary success—during and after the pandemic.
Robert Balfanz
5 min read
Conceptual illustration of students making choices based on guidance.
Viktoria Kurpas/iStock
College & Workforce Readiness Opinion An Economist Explains How to Make College Pay
Rick Hess speaks with Beth Akers about practical advice regarding how to choose a college, what to study, and how to pay for it.
6 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
College & Workforce Readiness What the Research Says College Enrollment Dip Hits Students of Color the Hardest
The pandemic led to a precipitous decline in enrollment for two-year schools, while four-year colleges and universities held steady.
3 min read
Conceptual image of blocks moving forward, and one moving backward.
Marchmeena29/iStock/Getty