The NAS's campaign to reform the College Board's AP European History examination has incited a flurry of new articles. Frederick Hess and Grant Addison wrote at The National Review to defend the College Board's revised examination, and say that no further changes were needed.
So, while the new framework could be improved, NAS’s critique of the revised framework is unduly harsh — and seems to presume that the College Board is incorrigible and operating in bad faith. That seems conducive to neither healthy debate nor good history. Indeed, it seems to us that the College Board has shown a willingness and ability to revisit its work to help ensure that American students learn history in a way that is challenging, fair-minded, and removed from today’s cultural agendas.
Peter Wood provided one reply at The Federalist:
I appreciate Hess and Addison’s desire for peace and amity, but I’d say it is a little too soon for NAS and the College Board to shake hands on this. Western civilization in both its American and European versions has become the object of ideological scorn among many contemporary academics who are powerfully drawn to cultural Marxism, identity politics, and history as the unfolding of progressive ideals. The College Board’s current version of APEH is grounded in those aversions. “Healthy debate” requires, first, that someone notice the systemic biases, and “good history” requires a picture not bounded by those biases.
David Randall wrote another at The National Review:
The NAS would be delighted if the College Board displayed “a welcoming posture and good-faith revisions” to our critiques. It has not. It did not solicit feedback or criticism from outside its progressive circle. It has made minimal, careless revisions in response to criticism. It has concealed its initial errors from the public. It acts as every irresponsible monopoly does — and its conduct underscores the need for the establishment of another assessment organization to rival the College Board. Without such competition, the College Board will continue to abuse its monopoly.
The NAS will be continuing its work to spur the College Board toward thoroughgoing reform.
Image Credit: Alexander Altenhof.