College Board Releases APUSH Framework Rewrite Following Criticism

Published August 21, 2015

The College Board released a new version of its Advanced Placement U.S. History (APUSH) framework in late July.

Since major revisions were implemented in 2014, the standards have been mired in controversy over accusations of liberal bias.

In the July version released by College Board, some of the controversial statements, such as referring to President Ronald Reagan’s rhetoric as “bellicose,” have been removed, and a section on national identity was added to the framework.

Stanley Kurtz, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, says the College Board merely removed the most controversial items from the framework instead of addressing concerns about what was missing.

 “The College Board has removed the most obviously biased statements, and that’s better than having them there, but in the end, the basic, problematic left-leaning bias remains there,” said Kurtz.  

“The framework continues to focus on conflicts of identity, race and class, globalism, and gender identities,” said Kurtz. “These are not illegitimate issues, but … the center of American history continues to be deemphasized, to be replaced by these fashionable topics instead.”

Frederick Hess, director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, says the new version is a great improvement.

“It has now put our founding ideals and experiences front and center, scrubbed away the agenda-driven progressive characterizations, and addressed the habit of framing every historical event in terms of contemporary identity politics,” Hess said. “There are certainly things I’d like to see added or changed, but I find it a fair-minded, reasonable framework for studying the sweep of our nation’s remarkable history.”

Kurtz says the framework still fails to give proper attention to the founding of the United States, freedom of religion, the European monarchy, and individual liberty. He also cites a neglect of important events in the nation’s history.

“Diplomatic and military topics and much political history are still left out,” said Kurtz. “The War of 1812 is not even mentioned.”

Heather Kays ([email protected]) is a research fellow with The Heartland Institute and is managing editor of School Reform News.

Image by Pete.