by Lindalyn Kakadelis
Executive Director, North Carolina Coalition for Charter Schools
Carolina Journal recently reported on the actions of the New Hanover School Board regarding the new AP US History Framework. On the same day, Stanley Kurtz wrote, How the College Board Politicized U. S. History, in National Review. While the issues regarding the new 98-page AP US History Framework continues to swirl, the NC Department of Instruction and the State Board of Education have an issue they can control. What exactly did the General Assembly mean when they passed the Founding Principle Act, in 2011?
Why did DPI allow for AP US History to take the place of U.S. History I (Founding Principle Class), and U.S. History II? Does anyone really think the depth of content a student covers in Social Studies from kindergarten through eight grade is enough for supposedly a college level course? Or the maturity of their brains can comprehend the founding documents to that level? That’s right, a 9th grader can take AP U.S. History.
Dr. Peter Wood, President, National Association of Scholars said it best in discussing the AP U.S. History issues:
The idea of “placing out” of courses depends on a certain chain of logic. First, it assumes that the core knowledge and the requisite skills in a subject are sufficiently well established that they can be captured on a single, nationally standardized exam. This seems highly plausible in some subjects, such as calculus, but rather less plausible in subjects such as history, where introductory courses can vary dramatically on matters such as their emphasis on the American Founding or the degree to which they emphasize Native Americans or women.
The General Assembly passed a bill that became law on June 23, 2011, and applies beginning in the 2014-15 school year. The law requires every high school student graduating in our state to take a class dedicated to the founding documents of our country, and pass. Meanwhile, DPI and the State Board (at the recommendations of DPI) are permitting students to opt out. So what it is? Total inaptness or an agenda? No wonder the Senate wanted to reduce DPI’s budget 30%. Either inaptness or agenda, just don’t think 30% was enough!