A PUSH in the Right Direction

Were you one of those students who complained about having to learn history? Is the only important date you remember “In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue” or some other such rhyme? Can you not remember the difference between Socrates and Shakespeare?

A general knowledge of history is wise, necessary, and prudent. In his novel 1984, George Orwell stated, “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.” So, just who controls the present? Whomever we allow to control it.

One would believe that the group of high school students who is most familiar with the history of our nation would be those students who complete Advanced Placement US History classes. To ensure that these students would have the best possible history lessons and learn about the most important persons, places, issues, events, and things, the APUSH standards were recently re-written. In the land of Perfect, these standards should cover the most important persons, places, issues, events, and things that ensconce American history from 1607 through at least the first decade of the 21st Century.

But the land of Perfect, of course, is only found in television commercials.

As stated in a prior post, the American education system is NOT perfect largely because man is not perfect. It is the opinion of this writer that an education in history for high school students should be honest, unbiased, and significant. Learning about leaders of small special interest groups with a specific agenda is hardly unbiased or significant as compared to learning about the presidents and the major national events that occurred during their respective administrations. Apparently, the College Board does not agree.

“The anonymous authors of the College Board’s redesigned AP U.S. History (APUSH) Framework created a radical new document that far transcends the previous five-page Topical Outline. As commentator Stanley Kurtz accurately observes, “The College Board is pushing U.S. history as far to the left as it can get away with at the high school level.””(see reference information below) Instead of beginning with the founding of Jamestown in 1607, AP teachers are required to spend 9 lessons (roughly 5%) of their annual class time on the period of 1491-1607. This valuable class time will be used to explain the global picture by adding Spaniards, West Africans, and Native Americans into the context of the founding of our nation.

That’s nice. I like context. You should also know, however, that “the Framework’s global approach actually has a very important purpose. It enables the curriculum writers to establish their key theme that European exploitation led to native decline and black bondage. The Framework explains that, “Many Europeans developed a belief in white superiority to justify their subjugation of Africans and American Indians using several different rationales.” Once established, this negative view of American history becomes the dominant theme in the Framework.” (see reference information below)

This is only one example of many found in the new APUSH standards. The dogma that “America is evil” is seen throughout the new standards in every single historical period. Furthermore, the new standards elevate the importance of minority groups far over those in the majority. By the time students chronologically reach 1754, they have been entrenched in British cultural superiority, slavery and conflicts with Native Americans. Parents who see these standards are, at this point, wondering “whatever happened to traditional subjects such as meetings of the Virginia House of Burgesses, the Puritans mission to build “a city upon a hill,” and the contributions of leaders such as Roger Williams and Benjamin Franklin. The alarming answer is that the Framework either minimizes or simply omits these fundamental topics.”

Who controls the past now? Those who are controlling the present control what students learn about the past, thereby controlling the past. Who controls the present? That would apparently be the writers of the Advanced Placement US History Standards. By controlling the present, and therefore the past, they will control the future, too.

These (and the dozens of others) are clear examples of the diminishment of what is significant in our history. “The goal of history is to tell a story about the past which captures the essence of an event while omitting superfluous details.” (see below for reference) Who gets to decide what is significant and what is not? The people who control the present get to do this, so conservative parents need to take some control!

It would seem that history is fixed. What has happened, happened, so just teach what happened. But who gets to interpret what happened so that it can be conveyed to our students? That would be the job of historians, those who write the lessons, and teachers. They are people, and as such, they have social, political, religious, and emotional biases. It’s through their biased lenses that these historians, teachers, and curriculum developers will interpret what they know about history. For example, a conservative, religious teacher might interpret homosexuality in the Greek and Roman Empires as being evil. Meanwhile, a liberal atheistic historian will see homosexuality in the Greek and Roman Empires as being a great example of personal freedom.

Are you starting to see why you need to take some control over the present? This easily explains why homosexuality was perceived as evil 40 years ago when our public schools were run largely by Christian teachers and why it is perceived as liberty by students today who have been taught by leftist teachers. “The past does not change, but history changes with every generation.” This changing mentality of how our history is viewed by our children will affect their behavior in the future – a future in which we are sitting in a nursing home unable to care or make decisions for ourselves.

A working knowledge of our past will help us to understand why events in our present time occur as they do. We must know where we have been in order to understand where we are, and consequently, where we are going. What is being taught to our children plays a far greater role than we can imagine.

Temerity Dowell

For more information, please see: http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2014/07/22/college-boards-flexibility-doctrine-in-ap-us-history-exam-for-optics-only/

http://heartland.org/policy-documents/analysis-college-board-ap-us-history-framework

Some of the quotes used in the post come directly from this brilliant article by David Crabtree: http://msc.gutenberg.edu/2001/02/the-importance-of-history/

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