Michael Hiltzik, a columnist for the Los Angeles Times has published a heated response to my piece on the intellectual and political background of the College Board's changes to the AP U.S. History Exam.
Hiltzik accuses me of being part of "the right's effort to suck the teaching of advanced U.S. History into the culture wars." Actually, the College Board itself became responsible for sucking history education into the culture wars when it substituted a massively detailed set of teaching guidelines for the brief conceptual outline it issued in previous years. That earlier outline, by virtue of its brevity, wisely allowed AP U.S. History to be taught from a variety of perspectives. Because of its length and its inevitably controversial choices of particular themes and issues to emphasize, the College Board's new Framework cannot help but stoke public debate.
The College Board itself was perfectly aware that its unprecedented decision to issue a detailed teaching framework would stir up public controversy. In a 2013 article published in the OAH Magazine of History, Lawrence Charap, in overall charge of the new Framework's development, said, "the choices made around which details are explicitly included in the Curriculum Framework will inevitably invite detractors." Charap goes on to acknowledge receiving feedback from AP U.S. history teachers complaining about the new Framework's "political correctness." Invoking memories of the "history wars," Charap goes on to say that he expects the new Framework will kick up a debate among "historians, history teachers, and the public." Charap claims to welcome such debate. more >>
A Washington, D.C.-based atheist organization has sent a letter to a Mississippi school district expressing concern about a mandatory faculty event that featured a Christian pastor.
The American Humanist Association's Appignani Humanist Legal Center sent a letter Monday to the superintendent of Jackson Public School District.
Of specific concern for AHA was a mandatory teacher convocation held earlier this month that included a Christian pastor and several remarks the group dubbed "religious proselytization." more >>
A large Catholic pro-life organization is demanding that the PBS cancel its airing of the controversial pro-abortion documentary "After Tiller."
The American Life League released a statement Wednesday calling upon the taxpayer funded PBS to cancel the "After Tiller" showing, scheduled for Labor Day.
Judie Brown, president of American Life League, said in a statement that the documentary "has no business airing on a publicly funded network." more >>
All schools in Nigeria have been shut down until October as health authorities continue battling the deadliest outbreak of Ebola virus in history.
"All state ministries of education are to immediately organize and ensure that at least two staff in each school, both private and public, are trained by appropriate health workers no later than Sept. 15 on how to handle any suspected case of Ebola," said Education Minister Ibrahim Shekarau.
A pastor who oversees a Messianic Jewish congregation has filed a complaint with a Texas public library over books in the young adult section which he dubs "demonic."
Phillip Missick, pastor at King of Saints Tabernacle of Cleveland, has asked the Austin memorial Library to remove book series including "Twilight" and "Vampire Knight."
In an interview with local media, Missick explained that these books should not be in the young adult section due to their tone. more >>
After President Obama in his 2013 State of the Union address called for a new federal entitlement for taxpayer-funded free preschool or pre-K for all 4-year-olds, we thought his idea would be quickly discredited, not only by its enormous cost, but even more importantly by the overwhelming weight of research proving the lack of any long-term benefit from such programs.
Now we are dismayed to learn from Politico that a dozen Republican-governed states are expanding state-based pre-K programs or are planning to do so next year. And in Washington, some Republicans are offering bipartisan support to a pre-K bill drafted by two of the Congress' biggest liberals, Rep. George Miller (D-California) and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), both of whom are retiring at the end of this year.
Why are these Republicans willing to accept Obama's claim that pre-K "works" by producing big benefits in a child's later life? In fact, the science tells us that pre-K provides, at best, a small temporary benefit that cannot be measured beyond the third grade. more >>