Washington, DC - Liberal elements in the education sector are putting a new spin on American history, according to Stanley Kurtz of the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He says it is an attempt to hijack the history of the U.S. for future leftist political gains.
A group of some 56 history professors from across the U.S. recently published an open letter objecting to the College Board's new Advanced Placement U.S. History exam. The exam, they wrote, "shortchanges students by imposing on them an arid, fragmentary, and misleading account of American history."
The letter states that "Educators and the public have been willing to trust the College Board to strike a sensible balance among different approaches to the American past. Rather than issuing detailed guidelines, the College Board has in the past furnished a brief topical outline for teachers, leaving them free to choose what to emphasize. In addition, the previous AP U.S. History course featured a strong insistence on content, i.e., on the students' acquisition of extensive factual knowledge of American history. But with the new 2014 framework, the College Board has put forward a lengthy 134-page document which repudiates that earlier approach, centralizes control, deemphasizes content, and promotes a particular interpretation of American history," the letter concludes."
The statement points out that "there are notable political or ideological biases inherent in the 2014 framework, and certain structural innovations that will inevitably result in imbalance in the test, and bias in the course. Chief among these is the treatment of American national identity."
Kurtz says the new interpretation is an attempt to "internationalize" the nation's past in the minds of young learners. The College Board says that its new test is an attempt to provide balance for teachers and students.
Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens points out that "History is prologue to the future. The history of America helps us to understand what made our country so powerful and influential. The U.S. is envied and emulated throughout the world in one form or another. Any attempt to revise our country's past, is bound to limit and impede progress in the future."
The new history exam for high schoolers is influenced by individuals who lead the movement to internationalize U.S. history including NYU history professor Thomas Bender, according to Kurtz. Bender, he said, is a self-described proponent of what he calls "transnational connections and the global framing of the history of North America, beginning with earliest European ventures out onto the Atlantic to the present."
Kurtz describes Bender as a "thoroughgoing critic of American exceptionalism, the notion that America is freer and more democratic than any other nation, and for that reason, a model, vindicator, and at times the chief defender of ordered liberty and self-government in the world."
Weber says that whether people such as Bender like it or not, American exceptionalism is real. "It's not a brag or a boast. It's a fact that, unlike any other nation on the planet, America is a true melting pot, a safe haven for people of all nationalities. They came here to help themselves and their families but wound up helping to create a nation that became the envy of the world."
Bender, however, would rather we look at ourselves through the eyes of our enemies in order to give us what he calls perspective. "Americans have always found it difficult to imagine themselves as an enemy, as a problem for other people," he contends.
His notion of history, according to Kurtz, is "that Columbus and his successors didn't discover America so much as they discovered 'the ocean world,' a new global community united by the oceans. The oceans, in turn, made possible the slave trade and the birth of modern capitalism, which improved the lives of Europeans, but brought exploitation and tragic injustice to the rest of the world. In other words, Bender wants early American history to be less about the Pilgrims, Plymouth Colony, and John Winthrop's "City on a Hill" speech, and more about the role of the plantation economy and the slave trade in the rise of an intrinsically exploitative international capitalism."
Weber sees the new AP History Framework foisted on our children by the College Board company as a view tainted by a progressive agenda based on distorted values and interpretations.
The AMAC chief says: "The greatness of America is in the spirit of free people under God, and in the bedrock values we live by each day in our families, neighborhoods, and work-places. Each of us, and those who came before us, is an individual worthy of respect, unique and important to the success of America. The history of our country is irreversible. No one has the right to misrepresent the facts. Those who would pervert the past for political objectives in the future with intellectual claptrap cannot be allowed to succeed in brainwashing our children in their classrooms."