The College Board sure picked an apropos time to release a revamp of its Advanced Placement European history (APEH) class. Among other things, the revamp excises the history of Islam’s clash with Christianity and the West, just as that conflict resurfaced in Orlando, Florida. As with AP U.S. history, the teacher guidelines have expanded dramatically, crucial information has gone missing, and history is reinterpreted through a politically progressive lens. For example, almost all religious history has been erased, and what remains has been reinterpreted as mere political power plays.
“While APEH strains to make free enterprise look as bad as possible and rightly condemns the cruelties of slavery, it obscures the evil and dysfunctionality of Communism,” Stanley Kurtz writes in National Review Online, citing an in-depth report on the new curricula guidelines from the National Association of Scholars.
“The almost complete excision of Islam’s 1400-year violent confrontation with Christendom also makes it almost impossible for students to understand that killings by modern jihadists fall squarely within the historical tradition of Islamic war,” report author David Randall told Breitbart. He and several other analysts, including Kurtz and the American Principles Project’s Jane Robbins, say it’s high time College Board begins to compete in the marketplace of ideas against better curricula.
“The College Board has proven it can’t be trusted to produce objective scholarship. Must we fight a lengthy battle with that monopoly every time it releases a new course framework? We need an alternative to the AP program – as soon as possible,” Robbins writes.
Kurtz nails why this matters:
That course is the closest most Americans will come to a class in what used to be called Western Civilization. And the new curriculum will shape textbooks, and the way in which all high school and college students are taught about our Western heritage for years to come.
Rightly understood, however, the NAS report also provides a profound explanation for today’s cultural and political headlines: the rise of secularism and the discrediting of religion; debunking hostility toward economic and political liberty; the rise of a soft form of Marxism; and the undermining of Western exceptionalism in a way that leaves even the West’s would-be defenders bereft of resources to make a stand. The contours of our education have become the contours of our politics.
SOURCES: Breitbart.com, National Association of Scholars, National Review Online, Townhall.com
IN THIS ISSUE:
- DC: When parents have more choice in education, they gradually and naturally move to higher-performing schools and desegregate schools by race, a new study finds. And this Catholic school in DC gives the highest-risk young boys an elite education and gets them all through high school and three-quarters into college.
- FLORIDA: In the 2015–16 school year, private school enrollment made its biggest jump since 2002, new figures show. The number of parents willing to pay private tuition themselves and the number using tax credit scholarships to help pay private tuition both jumped.
- NEW HAMPSHIRE: Gov. Maggie Hassan vetoed a bill that confirmed local districts’ right to contract out kids’ education to private and nearby public schools.
- SOUTH DAKOTA: Volunteers and state officials are working to make it possible for families to use the state’s new tax credit scholarship program starting this fall.
- NEVADA: State lawyers defending in court the nation’s broadest school choice program have asked to fifth- and eighth-grade students’ scores will mean nothing this year, officials have decided.
- COMMON CORE: Elementary teachers – including large majorities in one Georgia study – report they still struggle mightily to teach Common Core math.
- UTAH: Fifty-one percent of Utahans want Common Core out of their state, finds a new poll of likely voters.
- COLLEGE READY: It’s impossible to keep academic quality in higher education and graduate all students from high school able to immediately attend college, a key fallacy Common Core promoters deployed.
- NEW YORK: The Buffalo school district is punishing students who opted out of Common Core tests by denying them entrance to selective schools.
- ACADEMICS: Increasing academic achievement reduces school violence and social friction, rather than the other way around, finds a new study.
- HIGHER ED: The Obama administration’s attack on for-profit colleges includes sticking taxpayers with billions of dollars in student debt and enriching the lawyers’ lobby.
- FLORIDA: A school district that agreed to pilot Gates Foundation ideas for improving teachers has spent millions of dollars and not gotten much for it, finds a new report.
- DATA PRIVACY: For digital learning to really work, “we would have to know [students’] most intimate details, or discover it through their interactions with our digital tools. We would need to track their moods and preferences, their fears and beliefs … perhaps even their memories,” says a leader of an online tutoring program.
- MUSIC: Children who studied music for two years at ages six and seven had improved brain functions over two control groups, finds a new five-year study.