Blake Neff, writing for the Daily Caller, http://dailycaller.com/2015/02/28/why-are-conservatives-so-bloody-mad-about-apush/, explains a bit.
I posted this bit on my Facebook (more after the “more”):
Repeating, “The central goal of any AP class is to prepare students to pass the end-of-year exam.” Thus, nothing is taught but what will be on the test. [Keep in mind that student performance on these tests factors into the teacher’s performance evaluation, usually to an unhealthy, even scary, proportion.]
My complaint is this money-driven, left-leaning agenda-driven organization is making money hand over fist off our kids. For what? So they have a more in-depth, advanced history class? Well, that would be okay, if it was inexpensive, and if it actually was. It seems to me we can do better ourselves. Let the teachers do their jobs. College Board hypes these courses as money-saving. Pretending parents (or the student) will save money by not having to take the course at university. Hogwash! It just don’t work that way, and our school districts are paying through the nose to save a little money for very few of their students. Stop it. Honors classes are good, great even, but AP is just a money-maker, overhyped.
Side note, Oklahoma is not alone. http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/02/why-oklahoma-lawmakers-want-to-ban-ap-us-history.html
Reportedly, retired high-school history teacher Larry S. Krieger started the pushback after the new release. (Referencing the article.) BTW, bellicose essentially means using war as a first option in national policy. (Dictionary says, “demonstrating aggression and willingness to fight.”) Responding to the NY Mag article, an anonymous “Jack” said:
I have graded the APUSH exams for eight years and this is no great loss for education. Trust me, you know when you are grading papers from states that pay for all students to take the exam: the essays are on the average dreck.
Far better for the best teachers to be given the regular US history classes to teach these students. Give the rookies AP, the bright kids who self-select for the class will do just fine.
I recommend a grain of salt, but such statement is hard to discount. I’m also not cynical enough to say we should count on the “bright kids” to do well with the newest teachers. It does support my assertion that AP is not the bee’s knees. Honors courses, yes. Expensive brand-name, designer courses? Nope.
Here in Oklahoma, local luminaries are all denouncing our legislature. Get over yourselves. Look at the new framework. It sucks. It is leftist propaganda. Note, the ban is for the new APUSH. New, as in not the same as the course framework and test that was given in previous years. So, did you look at the new one before you shot your mouth off and insulted your neighbors?
Here is the link. http://media.collegeboard.com/digitalServices/pdf/ap/ap-us-history-course-and-exam-description.pdf (142 pages in all. That hardly sounds like it is giving teachers freedom.)
In a quick scan of the first third of the document, I think if I taught AP History, I’d feel the document patronizing. It seems written for an absolute novice.
And there is this: http://media.collegeboard.com/digitalServices/pdf/ap/ap-us-history-curriculum-framework-evidence-planner.pdf (106 pages) [From College Board, ““This document provides a reformatted version of the AP U.S. History Curriculum Framework Concept Outline to aid teachers in planning their own course. Space is provided for teachers to identify specific examples and content that they are choosing to use in their instruction to investigate the key concepts. These examples might come from standards established by state curriculum guides or by school or district requirements.”” What’s not to like, huh? Well, it would seem to let teachers do what they want, but I’m wondering how it can be standardized and the scores comparable. It sounds awful loose from the perspective of a college that might accept an APUSH test result for course credit. Mostly, I think College Board is trying to be all things to all potential customers.
Perhaps I’ll go through these and write a little in future. Feel free to comment.
I forgot this all blew up last fall in Colorado. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/10/01/college-board-says-it-revised-controversial-ap-u-s-history-framework/ (The article has more recent updates regarding what is new in the APUSH framework.)
There seem to be several history groups that support the College Board, and maybe they know better, but I suspect they are mostly leftist, progressivists groups that love to pat each other on the back and flagellate the rest of us. (I’m wrong? Okay, show me. Comments welcome below.)
My key for history is learn from the mistakes and take pride (and learn from) the accomplishments. If that isn’t the objective, do something else.
Invariably, people extol the virtues of the upper level classes. Yes, I agree wholeheartedly.
We really need to work with the students to help them select the best level for them, and we need to have appropriate levels for the students we have.
History is a big deal for some. This assertion applies to everyone, young and old, student and teacher, and all the rest of us. Some care, some not so much. The key is, we need to have knowledge of history so we can do better, so we can be better. Agenda is not the way to do that.
I’ll also say I don’t want a law banning this or that coursework in Oklahoma schools. I suppose the idea is funding, but I just cannot support throwing the force, coercion, and official violence of the government behind anything that doesn’t obviously need it. We need laws were clear, obvious, imminent danger exists, things that when done cause harm. Things which warrant violence to stop. What teachers teach does not fit such a criteria. Let the parents, the students, the teachers, and the school boards determine. Keep the government out of it. Of course, public education is run by law. In Oklahoma it is primarily constitutional and by the school boards. Funding is legislative, so we make do.
Also, look at College Board. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/College_Board good starting place.
Overall, it is all about the money. Really, keep up the numbers. Keep up the cash flow. Keep the top executives so we look good, and that requires paying them the big bucks. Still, since it is about the money, they will respond to reality if consumers demand it. The key is demand. The key players are all left leaning, so leftist propaganda is expected. (Shouldn’t be, but such is life.) Non-leftist teachers can probably due just fine as long as they have supportive admin and good relationships with parents. Leftist teachers should do quite well, especially if they can maintain good relations with parents, and if they can keep nonadversarial with more conservative thinking students. I bet most do. It is sad that some don’t. Anyway, such is life.
Out of time. Maybe I’ll write more. I’ll answer comments if I get any.