Friday, July 31, 2015

A History Of Surrender

After a year of bullying by Republicans, the College Board has released this year's revisions to AP US History courses, and of course the conservative viewpoint of America, Greatest Country Of Ever, is now center stage.

The revisions consolidate learning objectives -- 19 are listed this year, down from 50 last year -- and seek to make sure "statements are clearer and more historically precise, and less open to misinterpretation or perceptions of imbalance." 
The revisions broaden how the curriculum explores American national identity and unity and how it looks at ideals of liberty, citizenship and self-governance. This includes considering American exceptionalism, which was not explicitly mentioned in last year's curriculum -- an absence that became a rallying point for conservative critics.

This year's changes highlight the nation's founding documents and founding political leaders, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and Benjamin Franklin. The curriculum includes considering the productive role of free enterprise, entrepreneurship and innovation in shaping U.S. history. It explores America's role and sacrifices during World War I and II and U.S. leadership in ending the Cold War.

When last year's framework was released, the Republican National Committee passed a resolution condemning the course, decrying it as a "radically revisionist view of American history that emphasizes negative aspects of our nation's history while omitting or minimizing positive aspects." 
The RNC resolution urged Congress to withhold any federal funding to the College Board, the private company that designs AP curriculums and the SAT and AP exams, until the course was rewritten. It called for a congressional investigation and at least a one-year delay in implementing the course so a committee of lawmakers, educators and parents could come up with a new version that would tell "the true history" of the country.

Looks like the College Board folks did the RNC's work for them.  In fact, conservatives seem pretty darn happy about the changes where the College Board faced the loss of millions in funding unless they literally rewrote the history books to favor the Republican viewpoints on WW II:

In the 2015 version, the first bullet now reads: “Americans viewed the war as a fight for the survival of freedom and democracy against fascist and militarist ideologies. This perspective was later reinforced by revelations about Japanese wartime atrocities, Nazi concentration camps, and the Holocaust.” The framework still notes the internment of Japanese Americans and the moral complexities of dropping the atomic bomb, but these are now situated in a broader, more textured tale. Teachers have plenty of room to emphasize moral ambiguities and contemporary critiques, as they well should — but it’s no longer implied that those are the whole story.

Murca. Hell yeah.  Just like Reagan won the Cold War by himself:

Of Reagan’s role in ending the Cold War, the 2014 framework read (in its laughable entirety): “President Ronald Reagan, who initially rejected d├ętente with increased defense spending, military action, and bellicose rhetoric, later developed a friendly relationship with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.” The framework managed to depict Reagan as simultaneously a bully and a naif. That’s the view of left-wing history departments, of course, but it is cartoon history. The 2015 framework now reads, “Reagan asserted U.S. opposition to communism through speeches, diplomatic efforts, limited military interventions, and a buildup of nuclear and conventional weapons,” and notes that these actions “were important in ending the Cold War.”

What's not mentioned about Reagan?  How he sold weapons to Iran, stifled federal AIDS research, and tripled the national debt.

No, that treatment gets reserved for Democrats like FDR.

Whereas the 2014 framework gave hagiographic accounts of FDR’s and LBJ’s domestic initiatives, the 2015 version gives a much more tempered account. The 2014 framework explained, “The liberalism of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal drew on earlier progressive ideas and represented a multifaceted approach to both the causes and effects of the Great Depression.” The 2015 framework now reads, “Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal attempted to end the Great Depression by using government power to provide relief to the poor, stimulate recovery, and reform the American economy.” This is both less starry-eyed and more accurate.

More accurate of course if your idea of accuracy involves "Democrats are evil."  But hey, history is written by the winners, right?

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