SIS teachers support revised AP US History framework

To promote stronger critical reasoning skills, College Board made modifications to the AP US History curriculum framework this year, modeling the changes after those made to AP World History in 2012. However, this new framework is currently being attacked by a number of conservatives in the US, based on the notion that it maintains an anti-American view on the country’s involvement in historical affairs.
Conservative history teachers and school boards contend that the new framework is flawed because it disregards key figures of American patriotism such as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison and gives more weight to America’s negative image while downplaying the positive. They have also asserted in public discussions that this framework questions the country’s values and hinders students’ true comprehension of American history. Despite these criticisms, AP US history teachers at SIS do not view the new curriculum as inferior.
“I think that these criticisms come from the fear that people will view America with an overly critical perspective,” said Courtney Caldwell, AP US History teacher. “History is supposed to be critical. America was never a perfect country, and it is important for students to know that. America’s founders enacted a government in which people had the power to question; students should be able to do the same when learning.”
AP US History teachers such as Steven Smith believe that the criticisms raised by conservatives do not take into account many of the benefits that could arise due to the different approach. Because the exam and guidelines now emphasizes thematic learning, unlike last year’s, much of the learning process involves evaluation and analysis.
“Ultimately, these changes will deepen students’ understanding of what America did and how it became the country that it is today,” Mr. Smith said. “This will help them when they enter college, because university and graduate school education is about transferring and applying factual information to other themes or regions, not just about memorizing every single date that you may find in a history textbook.”