Editor’s note: The following is an opinion blog posted by Arcadia High School junior Jacy Duan.
This year, AP U.S. History students and teachers in Arcadia and throughout the U.S. are starting the year off differently. A new APUSH curriculum was released by the College Board this year in response to the Republican Party’s criticism of last year’s curriculum because it provided a “radically revisionist view of American history that emphasizes negative aspects of our nation’s history while omitting or minimizing positive aspects.” Ben Carson, a current presidential candidate in the 2016 election even went on to explain that the course would make any student who completed it “ready to sign up for ISIS.”
Caving into conservative pressures, College Board agreed to change their curriculum this year. These new textbooks have changes that promise to paint America in a more positive light, focusing less on the plight of Native Americans (Indians) or slavery and more on American Exceptionalism, patriotism, and the importance of free enterprise.
These books also promise to focus on the newly-implemented Common Core Standards, forgoing detailed information about key historical happenings with chapters dedicated to “developing historical thinking skills.” Instead of starting off the year with lessons focusing on the impact of Colonial America on Native Americans, APUSH received a lecture best summed up as “this class will not teach you the full history of the United States; it will only teach you how to patriotically interpret American History.”
As a student, I wonder how trying to gloss over America’s mistakes and focusing mainly on our greatness is any different. All the students in America have a right to learn our real history and interpret for ourselves what it means to us. We have a right to decide what we want to believe once we hear the true story. Is the most important part of history not all those billions of people that have lived and their experiences? If the truth of people’s struggles throughout history are never taught to our future generations, how can we ever learn to be better? Of course, there are numerous reasons to be proud to be an American and the old curriculum did properly address them. After all, there isn’t really triumphance in ignorant patriotism.
— By Jacy Duan, a junior at Arcadia High School.