By Lizbeth Trujillo
The College Board has spent years modifying curriculums for various of the Advanced Placement (AP) classes, such as AP United States History (APUSH), which are offered to high school students around the nation. Although the guidelines for APUSH and the AP test changed only last year, conservatives claimed that the 2014 curriculum remained “unpatriotic” and “anti-American,” officially changing the content of the class once again on July 30. The new guidelines will be effective for the 2015-2016 school year.
According to College Board, the new description of both the class and exam will allow for a more “balanced approach” to US History. Significant changes to the course include a different approach to teaching about the country’s important leaders, documents, and overall identity such as America’s role in the Cold War.
“I recognize that there are many biases in different books and texts, but as a teacher it is my job to lead students to their own conclusion. Although the curriculum changed, I see it merely as a guideline rather than a rigid set of instructions therefore I still possess the ability to help students interpret history for themselves,” history teacher Carla Bacon said.
Modifications to the course occurred as a response to the Republican’s National Committee calling for Congress to hold back federal funds from the College Board after conservatives claimed that the APUSH class lacked American exceptionalism back in 2014.
The College Board fought back by stating that conservatives were looking at the course outline as a fixed curriculum rather than as simple guidelines for teachers. It also declared that the opposing side was prioritizing their agenda over the needs of teachers and students. However, after receiving feedback from teachers and students, College Board eventually gave in to conservative pressures.
In order to satisfy conservatives’ need for American exceptionalism to be the main focus of the class, the new guidelines will focus less on the negative aspects of the country’s history such as slavery or Native American policy. The modified curriculum will put more emphasis on the positive aspects such as America’s role in the two world war victories or on president Ronald Reagan’s achievements.