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Never Forget
the United States
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September 8, 2014

What is the most effective way of changing our society and our view of history?  Answer: By what we teach our children.  There is a move afoot right now that is trying to change the view of history.  Beginning this fall, the College Board Advance Placement (AP) exam will start weaving in the views of NYU history professor Thomas Bender into its questions.  Bender, who rejects the concept that the United States is exceptional, believes we should teach students from a point of view that the U.S. is just “a province among the provinces that make up the world,” no better, no worse.
 
The College Board’s AP exam is a test required by high school students who seek college credit -- a test that will be taken by our brightest students.  In turn, high school teachers will start teaching the controversial “values” of professor Bender to our children so they can do well on the College Boards.  Again, the way to change the way America thinks is to change the minds of its youth. 
 
A recent survey conducted among AP History readers revealed  90% either detested the Bender approach or were highly skeptical.  A particular sticking point is the five-page conceptual guideline that replaces the flexibility of teachers -- to approach U.S. history from a wide variety of perspectives -- with a rigid framework that instructors are expected to follow.  By following the AP approach, the College Board has drastically eroded the freedom of states, school districts, teachers, and parents to choose the history they teach our children.

We find interesting that in the Board’s (Bender’s) limited approach, Washington and Jefferson are barely mentioned.  More significant is the complete absence of stories and figures from critical civil rights events.  There is also no mention of the Gettysburg Address, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Tuskegee Institute, or even the famous World War II Navajo code talkers.  We question why?

Perhaps the real issue is over the Bender/Board’s worldview.  We see our nation as a shining light in the darkness.  Freedom of speech, freedom of movement, freedom to assemble, the right to own firearms are all part of the American fabric.  The opportunity to own property, make decisions about our own destiny, coupled with hard work and personal responsibility are just some of the foundations upon which our county was built.  We are not just another nation among many; we are exceptional – provided we continue to keep the freedom to make our own decisions. 

The price of freedom is to be ever vigilant.  Perhaps Ronald Reagan said it best in these stirring words during his last public speech, This national feeling is good, but it won't count for much, and it won't last unless it's grounded in thoughtfulness and knowledge.  An informed patriotism is what we want… We've got to do a better job of getting across that America is freedom--- freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of enterprise --- and freedom is special and rare. It's fragile; it needs protection…. If we forget what we did, we won't know who we are.”  We concur!

And a final thought, Herb Philbrick (of I Led Three Lives) once said “You can’t make a person eat a whole salami but if you cut it up and feed it to him a slice at a time he’ll eat the whole thing!”  We need to teach American history and be on guard against those who would “slice by slice” feed our children a false worldview about the United States. We are exceptional and we must never forget it!

Mark and Bill and John

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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