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Protests Occur Over New AP Civics Course Content

State Protests Against New AP Civics Course

High school students in Colorado walked out of their classrooms in protest of proposed changes to the Advanced Placement history curriculum. 

The protest was "sparked by a resolution in August from Jefferson County school board member Julie Williams," according to a recent NPR segment that was reposted to NPR.org.

"When [Williams] heard that conservatives across the country were upset about the new AP history curriculum, she proposed a committee to review the district's courses," the article said. "The resolution stated that AP history classes should promote 'patriotism and ... the benefits of the free-enterprise system' and should not 'encourage or condone civil disorder.'"

"Basically, what I am asking for is for history to be taught complete," Williams said. "So the good, the bad, the ugly, without bias."

The article said the protest "started with 100 students, including Ben Smith from Standley Lake High School, northwest of Denver." Smith said students "don't want their history censored and don't like that the resolution called for promoting the positive aspects of U.S. history."

"The negative parts of American history aren't necessarily unpatriotic," Smith said."We need to know those things so we don't repeat them in the future."

The AP History course "aims to to de-emphasize rote memorization and instead develop critical thinking skills," the article said. "But some conservatives say there's an anti-American bias.

Larry Krieger, a retired New Jersey high school teacher, said the new materials "don't mention events like D-Day or key historical characters."

"The founders are not discussed," he said. "Ben Franklin: not there. James Madison: not there."

Teachers in Colorado, however, will not leave D-Day or the nation's founders out of the curriculum, said Fred Anderson, a history teacher at the University of Colorado who helped write the new framework.

"These are usually the very best teachers in a school. You don't have to tell them to talk about Wilson and Madison, and Franklin and Washington at the Constitutional Convention — they do that," he said. "They would find it incredibly condescending to be directed at that level, so the absence of mention is not in any sense an exclusion — and it's a misconception, I think, about the framework that that's the case."

Read the full story. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, EducationWorld Contributor

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