I am a little livid at the recent move by conservative legislatures across the country to ban or cancel participation in the AP US History class and test. My history classes in high school were what kept me interested enough in school to graduate and go on to college. Not to mention saving me a few grand by getting me college credit. This move to band this particular course is immensely frustrating for those who care about what real education is about – learning how to think and express ourselves.
Legislators that are confused about their expertise on certain subjects need to step back with a little humility. Allow dedicated professional teachers with abiding interest in the success of their students as human beings to sort out the curriculum they thing is best.
Skip that, allow is far to weak a word.
Support them in the class room!
Support them from the capital!
Support them locally!
Legislators and those who are their constituents, we need people who are able to read and think through what happened to make sure it does not happen again. Going through life with a sugar coated version of how this land we live in was settled, occupied, and built upon is fine for some, but not for those who are making policy decisions, who are crafting policies in their businesses, who are writing grant proposals, who are teaching future students, who are engaged in a democratic process requiring informed decisions to be made. We do not get well-formed people without those people reading different perspectives on our history.
You do not have to agree with everything you read or hear in a class. Becoming adult means recognizing nuance and bias in how information is presented. Becoming adult means respectfully coming up with explanations and answers to questions made by critics, questions raised by people who disagree with us.
Now, I understand that politically it has become popular on both sides of the fence to vilify anyone who disagrees with you. Watching political adds is a lot like watching Jerry Springer used to be. It goes a long way to explaining why Jerry Springer isn’t on the air anymore (is he? I really don’t know) when we watch political leaders vilify the left and right.
Christians engaged in politics are required to love their neighbors and enemies, and even when we vehemently disagree with people or ideas found in books, we learn to work with them and for them without complaint and with out insulting them or their characters.
A start to learning that is to allow teachers to teach, and encourage students to think through positions they may later disagree with. Through out all of this, I think teachers have done a bang up job in trying to come up with a deeper version of the AP Test that relies less on Multiple Choice and more on the ability of students to think, process, and express answers to challenging questions.
Kudos to you teachers! You deserve our thanks AP Test writers! May God protect your work from the short sighted.