‘We’ve got this covered’: RNC rips new AP History, but Cobb says it’s up to challenge
by Hilary Butschek
August 12, 2014 04:00 AM | 4926 views | 12 12 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — The Republican National Committee has denounced the new framework for Advanced Placement U.S. History, but the Cobb School District’s chief academic officer says, “we’ve got this covered.”

The RNC passed a resolution Friday describing how an estimated 500,000 students take the College Board’s Advanced Placement U.S. History course each year, a course it says is traditionally designed to present a balanced view of American history to prepare students for college-level history courses.

Yet the College Board, the RNC resolution states, has released a new framework for the course “that reflects a radically revisionist view of American history that emphasizes negative aspects of our nation’s history while omitting or minimizing the positive aspects.”

The resolution calls on the College Board to delay the rollout for “at least a year” and calls on state legislatures and the U.S. Congress to investigate.

Mary Elizabeth Davis, the Cobb School District’s chief academic officer, said it’s true the College Board has introduced a framework that “shifts away from sort of the American facts and a very memorization-heavy AP course, and they have created a framework that is much more about being historically analytical and analyzing historical events in the U.S.”

Davis said that doesn’t mean that’s the only thing Cobb students will be exposed to in history class, though.

“In Cobb, our kids that take the AP U.S. History course are also simultaneously responsible for learning the regular U.S. history course standards that are approved by the state,” Davis said. “So, we are balancing this analytical framework and this historical analysis with the facts of American history, and the study of the significant historical characters and Founding Fathers and the events that shaped our nation over time.”

Davis: Cobb is telling the full story of history

The RNC, Davis said, is calling for the “full story” to be told.

“And we’re just completing the story,” Davis said. “In Cobb, we’ve got this covered because we would not be satisfied with only this broad framework, without identifying the historical components that kids should have exposure to.”

For example, for students enrolled in the AP History course, in addition to taking the AP exam, they also take the state’s End of Course Test.

“That is much more closely focused on more of the facts and historical characters,” Davis said.

Marietta Schools Superintendent Emily Lembeck said the materials teachers use for AP U.S. History will not change, but the new framework emphasizes a different style of teaching.

“From what I understand, it is not as fact-based and emphasizes concepts,” Lembeck said. “Of course, it assumes there is a fact base to draw from, and our curriculum maps are based on the Georgia Performance Standards for U.S. history, which have not changed and apply to AP classes,” Lembeck said.

Interim Cobb Superintendent Chris Ragsdale said the framework is an outline teachers can build from, choosing sections to emphasize and add more detail.

“The new AP U.S. History course shifts the emphasis from solely content and facts to a course focused more on historical analysis and technical writing,” Ragsdale said. “In Cobb, we will still choose the textbooks that we use to support the instruction, and we will still develop our own lesson plans and instructional resources to support historically accurate content as we implement the new AP framework.”

The College Board describes the course as more of a broad look at history. The College Board, a nonprofit which also administers the SAT, sets the standards for AP tests and courses, which earn high school students college course credit.

Angelucci favors RNC resolution

Cobb Board of Education Chairwoman Kathleen Angelucci said she is in favor of the RNC’s resolution.

Angelucci quoted the description of the new course:

“The AP Exam will measure student proficiency in the historical thinking skills as well as the thematic learning objectives. Beginning with the May 2015 AP U.S. History Exams, every AP Exam question will be rooted in these specified learning objectives, relieving teachers from the pressure to cover an unlimited amount of content in their AP U.S. History course.”

What this means, Angelucci believes, is that “not only will teachers no longer be valued for their professional abilities to teach American history, they are only viewed as a conduit for what the College Board deems necessary; usurping a state’s right to decide standards …”

Angelucci wondered, “How can Frederick Douglass or The Monroe Doctrine be considered optional concepts or topics — these are not included. The ‘Framework’ offers a very negative view of American history, which emphasizes every problem and failing of our ancestors, while ignoring or minimizing their achievements ... is this what we want to be part of the foundational learning of high school students? No mention of Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, and John Adams, and almost none of the Declaration of Independence?

Angelucci wants to hear from the Georgia Board of Education on the matter.

“When did David Coleman and his unelected College Board become the de facto legislature and board of education for each state?” Angelucci asked.

Comments
(12)
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LaShwanda Periwinkle
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August 12, 2014
I am sure that it will include praise to our most prized and best ever president B.H. Obama. if it doesn't, it's racist.
Dave Z
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August 12, 2014
Shouldn't Angelucci concern herself with Polish history before worrying about American history?

Just kidding.
R. Lee
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August 12, 2014
Dear Ms. Angelucci,

Both the Monroe Doctrine and Frederick Douglas are in the AP US History Course Description. It took me about 3 minutes to find it.

Perhaps your ability to research and validate claims would be a bit better had you had a course like this in High School.
AP teacher
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August 12, 2014
Angelucci seems to have her opinion confused with facts. Just to be clear; A.P. courses have never followed state or local standards. As result, Coleman and his group have never sought to become the de facto board of education or legislative body.
sounds fishy
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August 12, 2014
This is an obvious effort to revise history and I thank the RNC and Kathleen Angelucci for stepping up. This should at the very least be put off, and frankly, I think it sounds serious enough to get the governor and the legislature involved. One of the biggest problems we have now with education how history is taught. And history is built on facts.
anonymous
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August 18, 2014
I agree. One item of note: both my children, in AP history/econ at a "top" high school in Cobb, graduated and went on to SEC colleges. I realized when they called me their freshmen year for help that they had never even learned who Nikita Kruschev was and their understanding of our last century in American history was absolutely NIL.

I don't care what we have to do to fix this, but let's please do. Too much MLK, not enough other stuff.
The stupid
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August 12, 2014
First it was Common Core, now US History. Next they will be banning books. This tea party crowd is slowly moving to keep our kids stupid, just like them.
Laura Armstrong
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August 18, 2014
With all due respect (very little) the Tea Party has absolutely nothing to do with this topic. Common Core is a democratic-hatched education scheme that originated with historically left leaning radicals in education, such as Obama buddy Bill Ayers, who bombed the Pentagon in the 60s and now influences teacher textbooks and colleges nationally. U.S. History has been slowly decimated over the years into a politically correct, leftist version of the facts, influenced by big money Marxist and Communists who want our kids dumbed down when it comes to learning about liberty and the real true founding of America. Good try buddy. It's the left that has consistently tried to make our kids dumb.
dumb and dumbest
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August 12, 2014
Apparently Mrs. Angelucci doesn't quite understand that the students learn BOTH the names/dates/facts through the state curriculum AND the conceptual skills based on the AP framework. I teach AP US History, and very little will change in the way my class approaches the subject--we will cover our Founding Fathers and Monroe Doctrine, Mrs. Angelucci, but also dig deeper to look at aspects of our history that are problematic. What's wrong with that? Shouldn't we be able to see the mistakes of the past and learn from them? Or should we just pretend everything was perfect? It's so frustrating to have people make decisions and/or comments when they know absolutely nothing of the topic.
Rhett Writer
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August 12, 2014
Perhaps you would care to share your name and where you allegedly teach.
anonymous
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August 18, 2014
This same group of people, driven by the politics of the CCSD administrators down on Glover Street, don't like the fact that Angelucci has challenged their bureaucratic power and will do anything to attack her credibility. I'm tired of it. Linda Crowder Eagle and John Crooks (maybe Abraham?), start signing your name and come out of the dark when you criticize (or have your cronies criticize) people. Your bitterness knows no bounds.
Mary Draper
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August 18, 2014
How about teaching the real hardships and sacrifices made by our early settlers who built this country?

For example, do you teach about me? When I heard the first shots ring out at Lexington and Concord and watched my three sons go off to war, I melted down my pewter dishes to make bullets for the Patriots and fed and clothed them as they walked past my Roxbury, MA farm. My relatives fought on the frontier and were scalped by Indians and the British, some sold in Canada as slaves (yes, white slaves!) -- sold for $8 if they were in good condition to work after their 250 mile march through western NY. I guarantee Common Core won't touch on ANY of these amazing stories, only that white America repressed and massacred minority people.
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