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LETTER: Panel’s AP history course lacking virtue

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To the Editor:

It’s time for a Paul Revere warning about the battle for the hearts and minds of South Dakota’s students. The latest skirmish is over changes to the Advanced Placement U.S History (APUSH) course.

The College Board which administers APUSH has taken a five-page outline that complimented state U.S. history standards and replaced it with a 98-page manifesto for AP teachers. In this framework, America is no longer the “shining city on the hill” serving as a beacon of freedom. This history minimizes the contributions of our Founding Fathers, the dreams of our civil rights leaders and the sacrifices of our military heroes. Instead, it dismisses our founding principles and focuses on failures and social divisions.

College Board President David Coleman, who is also known as the architect of Common Core, defends the new framework. He maintains that educators can teach additional materials in these voluntary AP courses. True. However, only the U.S. history presented in the College Board’s version will be tested. If South Dakota teachers focus on America’s founding virtues, they risk their students doing poorly on the APUSH.

Sadly, students completing the College Board’s version of U.S. history, may respond, “Paul Revere, who?”

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