by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Alex Adrianson highlights for the Heritage Foundation’s “Insider Online” blog a critical assessment of recent changes to the controversial Advanced Placement U.S. history exam. The headline of Adrianson’s entry asks “Did the College Board fix the left-wing bias in the Advanced Placement U.S. history test?”
No, says Stanley Kurtz:
While the College Board has thrown in a mention of American exceptionalism to placate critics, the framework itself continues to focus on globalism, culture-mixing, gender identity, migration, environmentalism, and such. America’s sense of principled mission, its unique blending of religious and democratic commitment, its characteristic emphasis on local government, the high cultural esteem in which economic enterprise is held, and America’s distinctive respect for individual liberty, are neither stressed nor contrasted with other countries to highlight the American difference.
He goes on to note historian Larry Schweikart’s assessment of the changes:
The main gist of [the scholars’ statement of protest against the 2014 APUSH framework] was that there was no recognition of American Exceptionalism in the original exam, and then, at a more micro level, hundreds of specific concerns about the lack of economic, military, technological history and traditional biography. As the Who used to sing, “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” To appreciate and convey American Exceptionalism, it would help to understand what it is. Michael Allen, then Dave Dougherty and I undertook this in our Patriot’s History of the United States and both volumes of Patriot’s History of the Modern World, to wit, American Exceptionalism rests on four pillars: 1) a Christian, mostly Protestant religious heritage; 2) a heritage of common law; 3) a free market; and 4) private property with titles and deeds. While #3 did not come along arguably until the nation was well-founded, the other three were at work in American colonial history as nowhere else in the world, not even England.
There is no indication that the AP group understands—much less endorses—these pillars. The new iteration has some tip of the hat to a free economy, yet it (like everything else here) is entirely focused on “forces” and “trends” while completely ignoring the role of individual entrepreneurs and inventors.