History, it is often said, is written by the victors.
This may generally be the case, but for once, we can score one for the underdogs. In 2014, the College Board adopted a widely panned framework for Advanced Placement U.S. History, deemphasizing American historical triumphs in favor of a more globalist — dare we say “revisionist” — version of the nation’s history. The Wall Street Journal’s Daniel Henninger described the curriculum as such:
Obsession with identity, gender, class, crimes against the American Indian and the sins of capitalism suffused the proposed guidelines for teachers of AP American History.
Gone were the Founding Fathers. Gone were the Federalist Papers. The very identity of America’s origins was replaced by division, difference, and disharmony. In essence, America’s high school curriculum was on a path to become as radical as that of many American universities. Historians and teachers alike were outraged.
That is, until last week. Over the past year, a number of state legislatures (we’re looking at you, Colorado, Georgia, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas) had attempted to counter the College Board’s rewriting of the American story.
In Colorado, the powerful teachers union launched a coordinated attack against new, reform-focused school board members, mocking them for suggesting AP history needed to be updated. Special interests are now pushing a recall of those school board members.
Last week, the College Board announced that it had overturned much of the radical curriculum it had adopted last year. The Founding Fathers are back. So are the Federalist Papers.
What makes this reversal all the more ironic is that the outcry to the 2014 agenda originated not in Washington, but at the state level. Federalism, a concept as crucial to American history as it is currently endangered, for once triumphed.
From health care, to environmental regulation, to education, we see more and more of the federal government usurping the rights of states, overwhelming many of them with heavy-handed requirements of uniformity that pay no mind to the cultures or economies throughout America’s diverse landscape. The College Board’s decision is admittedly a drop in the bucket in the grand scheme of things, but it is a victory for America’s states nonetheless.