Wednesday, June 13, 2018

AP World History in the News

Here's a running list of the press coverage about the proposed changes to AP World.

Those changes, announced by Trevor Packer, senior vice president of Advanced Placement and instruction at the College Board,  would start the course in 1450 instead of thousands of years earlier with prehistory.

The proposed changes infuriated many teachers because it would exclude the rich and diverse history of Afro-Erasia.  For example, students would not learn about the rise and spread of Islam, the golden age of the Tang and Song dynasty, the travels of Ibn Batutta and Marco Polo, or even the Mongols.

Some teachers questioned Packer at an Open Forum during the AP Reading in Salt Lake City in early June.   One teacher's questions, Amanda DoAmaral's, went viral.

Now, major news organizations are writing about the controversy. Politico and Atlantic Magazine are two of the most recognizable but academics like Dr. Peter Stearns, provost at George Mason University and the author of world history textbooks, and Dr. Ross Dunn, one of the founders of the World History Association, have written public letters to the College Board. Those are also linked below.

Check back as I will update the list as more media outlets publish stories about the controversy.

  1. Teaching Tolerance: AP World History Is Worth Saving
  2. Education WeekAP World History Rewrite Draws Criticism From Teachers and Students 
  3. Colorlines: Teachers Fight To Keep Pre-Colonial World History In AP Course
  4. American Historical Assoication: AHA Letter to College Board Regarding AP World History 
  5. The Hill: Teachers fight to keep pre-colonial history in AP course curriculum
  6. Dr. Peter StearnsA Real Path Forward for AP World History 
  7. The Federalist: Campus Insanity Hits High School As Teachers Protest ‘Eurocentric’ ‘Imperialism’ Of History Classes 
  8. Atlantic Magazine: The Controversy Over Just How Much History AP World History Should Cover 
  9. Save AP World WebsiteCompilation of letters to Trevor Packer, vice president of Advanced Placement and instruction at the College Board
  10. The Hill: Teachers fight to keep pre-colonial history in AP course curriculum
  11. PoliticoAP World History gets a makeover, and high school teachers rebel 
  12. History News Network: AP World History gets a makeover, and high school teachers rebel
  13. Inside Higher Ed: Dividing World History
  14. Statement from histoiran, David Christian
  15. American Historical Society, Essay by Matt Drwenski and Dave Eaton whoshost the podcast, On Top of the World. The essay is called "Class Warfare: Changes to the AP World History Course."
  16. Economist: Teachers protest against changes to a high-school history course 
  17. Washington Post: AP World History course is dropping thousands of years of human events — and critics are furious 
  18. The Mercury News: Critics lambaste AP World History course omissions 
  19. Atlanta Black Star: Utah Teachers, Students Fight to Stop Erasure of Pre-Colonial History from AP Courses 
  20. NPR: Changes Coming To AP World History Classes  
  21. Journal Sentinel: Educators fight effort to scale back AP World History


Laura Mitchell said...

More letters are complied here:

Note that ALL the former Chief Readers and Test Development Committee chairs signed a joint letter to the College Board.

MrMac said...


I teach A.P. World History to 9th graders at York High School in Virginia. My classes over the years have become more diverse and I have always enjoyed teaching the A.P. World content, which made an effort not to be exclusively a Western Civilization course. The new trend away from an understanding of Africa and Eurasia is troubling and ethnocentric. Hopefully if students learn about the world and its History they will have a better understanding and empathy towards the rest of the world and its rich culture. We could sure use that in this country right now.

Jeff MacGuinness
York High School

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