GO NAVY BEAT ARMY

GO NAVY BEAT ARMY

'87 Sir

Thirty years of service ----USNA Class of 1987 '87 Sir

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Fired up and ready to go--the History Wars come around again.

The teaching, reading, general consumption of history are, of course, subjects near and dear to my heart.  As someone who has studied history for <ahem> nearly 40 years, I have a pretty well defined sense of well written and researched history...certainly more than most of the moron commentators out there.  

And, as you can tell, I also have a well developed sense of humility.


SO, I read with great interest that the seemingly never-ending brewhaha on the most recent revision of the so-called "Advanced Placement" (AP) History course is heating up once more...with more passion and intensity.

Not with a whimper, mind you, but with a huge freakin' cannon shot.

Now, mind you, this is a topic that creates a great divide between what I would term traditional historians and the sort of progressive, annoying Foucaultian "professors" and "teachers" of history that seem to dominate the development and teaching of modern curriculum.  (Yes, you will be able to tell where I come down on this debate)

This is going to be a long debate, so I will try and use small words and lots of Wikipedia links for everyone who has suffered through a modern public and college education (anytime after 1999) to try and sort through some of the spin and debate from my own unique and grouchy perspective.


As for me, I am what would be academically called a mash-up of traditionally Whig history with a small dose of Annales  thrown in for flavor.  A very small dose, mind you..and I like to consider the Annales interpretation more as an integrative view of history that combines geography (DUH, can't study military history without geography), some social and political science, and some occasional anthropology or other "ologies" to give context to historical events.


JUST in case you were wondering where I stand on this debate I definitely represent the "get off my lawn and history" view of revisionist, progressive, identity and gender driven drivel.  But I will try and be <cough> kind to those particular knuckleheads as I step through the good, bad, and ugly of the new AP history.  


However, I think that to be FAIR, and I want to be FAIR, no microaggression here, it would be useful to look at both the structure and ASSUMPTIONS of the new AP History before rendering my verdict.


So, let's begin with the basic arguments and viewpoints from the diverging camps...and believe me, they do diverge.

College Board's Reckless Spin on U.S. History

"By obscuring this nation’s founding principles and promise, the College Board’s U.S. history guidelines will erode the next generation’s disposition to preserve what is best in the American political tradition. It will also weaken students’ ability to improve our laws and political institutions in light of America’s constitutional commitment to limited government, individual liberty, and equality under law.

The framework focuses on social history, which embraces the experience of ordinary people and minorities, while relegating the traditional topics of narrative history—constitutional principles and the unending debate about their reach and application, as well as diplomacy, military strategy, and statesmanship—to bit parts in the story of America.

In addition, the framework emphasizes European conquest of native peoples, economic exploitation, and environmental abuse. It subordinates the formation of American national self-awareness and sovereignty to global forces and multicultural perspectives. It stresses the distinct group identities that have developed within the United States but gives little space to American citizenship. It showcases the rise of early 20th century progressivism, the mid-20th century New Deal, and 1960s liberalism as bold responses to real world challenges but presents post-World War II conservatism as grounded in fear and belligerency. And it dwells on America’s sins, real and imagined, while soft-pedaling America’s remarkable achievements in lifting people from poverty, assimilating immigrants from all over the world, and securing liberty at home and abroad."
AND in this corner... 
The bizarre war against AP U.S. history courses
"Many parts of the country that have relaxed their objections to teaching evolution have now pivoted to try to ban or sabotage teaching about climate change. Sex ed — at least the kind that actually educates kids about sex, rather than its absence — has come under similar attacks.

Now, more recently, states have started trying to ban the teaching of U.S. history.

Yes, U.S. history. Specifically, the bits of our history that might be uncomfortable, unflattering or even shameful — or, as some politicians call it, “unpatriotic.” More important, setting politically motivated ceilings on what students are allowed to learn will ultimately make them less informed citizens, likely dooming them to support passing equally dumb public policies as adults. Those who don’t know history, after all, are condemned to repeat it."
So there you have it, the beginning of our debate.  Now to be fair, I will say, because I'm me, that the liberal writer (gee can you guess which one that is) starts off with a weak argument, because-of course-modern liberals can't talk about ANYTHING without mentioning sex and climate change.  

It's a tad annoying, but unavoidable, I suppose.  And, because liberals are almost always academic snobs about their awesome Ivy League degrees, I would like to point out that our liberal "editorial writer" is not a history major...AND more importantly not a history major from one of the top rated liberal arts schools in the country....ahem...nope, no collegiate chest thumping here...ooops, is that a micro-aggression?  Grrr, more on that later.


Nonetheless, our liberal "editorial writer" which I guess is somehow supposed to be better than a "journalist"-- doesn't actually raise any substantive points--just a general "How can you peasants know anything more about history than a bunch of clearly much better educated college professors?"

Well, let's find out....by going straight to the source...the new AP history curriculum and teaching plan.

No comments: