Revised AP US History “Framework”

The Advanced Placement United States history high school course has been the topic of major controversy over the last few weeks. The College Board has created a new “framework” for the course that many people argue is anti-American due to its emphasis on negative events in our country’s history instead of celebrating the more positive aspects.

This opposition has led to teacher “sickouts”, student walkouts, and full- blown protests in communities throughout the United States. The College Board has revised the framework multiple times in response to the widespread backlash. In my opinion, history, whether it pertains to the United States or not, should not be distorted or changed to create bias for one party or another. Just because we are citizens of the United States does not mean that we have to learn history in a way that favors only the positive aspects of our country. History, whether it is good or bad, still happened and the notion of altering history for students does not seem right. Whether we like it or not, the history of our country is not as perfect as we would like to think it has been.

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While it is important to be patriotic, that does not mean we should be naive to the fact that negative things have happened in our country’s history. The history courses in our country should reflect exactly what happened and how it happened, not how we would like to think it happened. Issues like displacement of Native Americans and slavery occurred and they should be learned from, not ignored. It has been said for generations that if we do not learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it. Being taught the unfavorable aspects of our history is crucial to making sure that young people know what is right and wrong.

Teaching the negative aspects of our country’s history are just as essential as teaching the positive points, in my opinion. Learning about the nationalistic, patriotic side of our history is important, but at the same time, there must be a balance. We cannot, as a country, promote ignorance and naivety by making a United States history course about how perfect America is and has always been. While loving your country is necessary, knowing the entirety of its history is even more so. A country censoring its history in order to make it seem exceptional does not sound like a democratic ideal, but rather a more fascist one. The United States has never been a country to keep its people in the dark, but that is what we are doing by simply teaching what we want to teach instead of what we should teach.

An English teacher would not only have their students reading literature from one single author just because it is their favorite author, just as a history teacher should not teach the history of just one side of our country’s past simply because it is the more positive perspective. In summary, I am in favor of the College Board’s new “framework” for the Advanced Placement United States history high school course because it is unbiased and more helpful to students. The purpose of education is to enrich a student’s life by giving him or her knowledge that will enlighten them and help them be successful in life. Censoring history is not the way to fulfill this purpose.