Tags: Lynne Cheney | AP exam | US history | college | students | high school

Lynne Cheney: New AP Exam Presents Distorted View of History

By    |   Thursday, 02 Apr 2015 10:19 AM

The new Advanced Placement U.S. history exam presents a distorted view of the country's history, disproportionately focusing on oppression and group identity while painting former President Ronald Reagan as a warmonger, Lynne Cheney said.

In an opinion piece for The Wall Street Journal, the senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute makes the case that the exam is ideologically skewed toward leftwing thinking, and concludes that responsibility for the curriculum should be in the hands of the people, not private companies or the state.

"The AP U.S. history exam matters. Half a million of the nation's best and brightest high-school students will take it this year, hoping to use it to earn college credit and to polish their applications to competitive colleges. To score well on the exam, students have to learn what the College Board, a private organization that creates the exam, wants them to know," she wrote.

She said that it wasn't until the College Board released its framework for courses that educators, academics, and others realized that key figures were missing from the curriculum while a negative view was presented of American history.

Cheney cited one question that focused on Reagan's Brandenburg Gate speech in 1987, characterizing it as an example of "increased assertiveness and bellicosity" in U.S. foreign policy. She also noted that of the 18 sections on the multiple-choice sample exam, eight were focused on the oppression of women, blacks, and immigrants.

"Knowing about the experiences of these groups is important — but truth requires that accomplishment be recognized as well as oppression, and the exam doesn't have questions on subjects such as the transforming leadership of Martin Luther King Jr.," she said.

"The framework requires that all questions take up sweeping issues, such as 'group identity,' which leaves little place for transcendent individuals. Men and women who were once studied as inspirational figures have become examples of trends, and usually not uplifting ones."

Cheney also noted that the exam made no mention of World War II, instead focusing on "questions about American values," such as "the internment of Japanese Americans, challenges to civil liberties, debates over race and segregation, and the decision to drop the atomic bomb."

"Why would the College Board respond to criticism by putting out a sample exam that proves the critics' point? Perhaps it is a case of those on the left being so confirmed in their biases that they no longer notice them. Or maybe the College Board doesn't care what others think," she wrote.

Cheney critiqued the sovereignty of the College Board but said the actions of some states to challenge it are worthwhile.

"The curriculum shouldn't be farmed out, not to the federal government and not to private groups. It should stay in the hands of the people who are constitutionally responsible for it: the citizens of each state," she concluded.

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The new Advanced Placement U.S. history exam presents a distorted view of the country's history, disproportionately focusing on oppression and group identity while painting former President Ronald Reagan as a warmonger, Lynne Cheney said.
Lynne Cheney, AP exam, US history, college, students, high school
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2015-19-02
Thursday, 02 Apr 2015 10:19 AM
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