Author Topic: This argument started in Colorado last semester...  (Read 749 times)

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Snakeeyes

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This argument started in Colorado last semester...
« on: February 18, 2015, 12:18:01 pm »
Tudo and his cronies want to whitewash history as squeaky clean as can be!!

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/oklahoma-house-panel-votes-to-eliminate-ap-us-history-course/ar-BBhGej3

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Snakeeyes

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Re: This argument started in Colorado last semester...
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2015, 12:29:26 pm »
When the students walked out in protest in Colorado last semester, my classes were very interested in talking about it.  I told them that unless the school board was planning on putting an auditor in every class on every day, that the teacher was going to teach how they saw fit no matter what some legislator said.  This, however, is much more dangerous, as it would eliminate the class altogether.  I haven't verified it yet, but I saw a headline that said the conservatives behind this bill want the 10 Commandments and three Reagan speeches put in the curriculum.  Well, I'm not going to teach those things because they're not on the AP test in May.  I'm going to teach my kids what is on the test, not somebody's political agenda.
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Justin NoCal

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Re: This argument started in Colorado last semester...
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2015, 12:33:34 pm »
You don't teach anything that isn't on the test?
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Snakeeyes

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Re: This argument started in Colorado last semester...
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2015, 12:34:55 pm »
They give us a list of potential topics in the new curriculum.  Those topics don't include the Ten Commandments (obviously since that's not US history) nor any speeches from Ronald Reagan.
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Snakeeyes

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Re: This argument started in Colorado last semester...
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2015, 12:43:19 pm »
Just to help potential discussion, I can give two examples from my career that relate here.

I once had a discussion on the phone with a father who didn't think my kids should be taught anything about Malcolm X.  He said "X was nothing more than a criminal" and that the kids shouldn't be reading a speech he made.

Another parent was upset with me because I called the unit from 1890-1910 as the "Era of American Imperialism" in my syllabus.  I had borrowed the term from the textbook itself.   Every time we do that unit, I share with the students that somebody didn't like the fact that term was used.  They pretty universally ask "Well if it wasn't imperialism, what was it??"
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Re: This argument started in Colorado last semester...
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2015, 12:49:56 pm »
The simple fact is that there is a lot in our country's history that isn't really glamorous.  We have black marks in our history.  I think you have to teach some of the more negative aspects of our history in order for people to learn and grow from them. 

Does anybody deny that blacks were held as slaves?
Does anybody deny what we did to Native Americans?

(Ralph and J-Dog excluded)
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Learjet89

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Re: This argument started in Colorado last semester...
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2015, 12:53:55 pm »
When the students walked out in protest in Colorado last semester, my classes were very interested in talking about it.  I told them that unless the school board was planning on putting an auditor in every class on every day, that the teacher was going to teach how they saw fit no matter what some legislator said.  This, however, is much more dangerous, as it would eliminate the class altogether.  I haven't verified it yet, but I saw a headline that said the conservatives behind this bill want the 10 Commandments and three Reagan speeches put in the curriculum.  Well, I'm not going to teach those things because they're not on the AP test in May.  I'm going to teach my kids what is on the test, not somebody's political agenda.

But suppose the AP class stayed, and the Reagan speeches were included in the list of potential test topics (the 10 commandments have nothing to do with US history), how would you react?
Certainly Reagan's speech at the Berlin Wall is an important moment worth discussing, if only as a chess move in the Cold War.
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Snakeeyes

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Re: This argument started in Colorado last semester...
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2015, 12:54:33 pm »
I explain the argument to my kids (when some get mad about "Republicans lying to them") like this:

Imagine that the whiteboard in the front of the class is covered by all the things that have happened in US history.  As your teacher, I don't have time to cover all those things.  But I can and do pick and choose which things will fit in that we'll cover this year.  The conservatives behind these measures just want me as your teacher to focus on picking the things which show America in a more positive light.  It's not "lying", it's just selecting things which are more positive to focus on.
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Snakeeyes

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Re: This argument started in Colorado last semester...
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2015, 12:57:13 pm »
But suppose the AP class stayed, and the Reagan speeches were included in the list of potential test topics (the 10 commandments have nothing to do with US history), how would you react?
Certainly Reagan's speech at the Berlin Wall is an important moment worth discussing, if only as a chess move in the Cold War.

Whatever is on that list, I teach.  I will admit Reagan is de-emphasized in the current curriculum, mostly because the era from 1980 forward is a very small part of the test.  I do a VERY quick overview of Reagan, Bush, W, and Clinton.
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Snakeeyes

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Re: This argument started in Colorado last semester...
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2015, 01:01:09 pm »
This is the breakdown:

AP US History Exam Breakdown

Pre-Columbian to 1789 20%
1790 to 1914 45%
1915 to the present 35%

Whereas the multiple-choice section may include a few questions from the period since 1980, neither the DBQ nor any of the four essay questions in Parts B and C will deal exclusively with this period.
Together, the multiple-choice and free-response sections cover political institutions, behavior, and public policy; social change, and cultural and intellectual developments; diplomacy and international relations; and economic developments.
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Justin NoCal

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Re: This argument started in Colorado last semester...
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2015, 01:08:22 pm »
So a Malcolm X speech but nothing Reagan. Interesting.

I know it's US History but do you only teach about slavery in the US? It just doesn't seem like a balanced good/bad curriculum for US History. Where does Common Core play into all of this?
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Snakeeyes

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Re: This argument started in Colorado last semester...
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2015, 01:39:54 pm »
I didn't say I didn't mention Reagan, we just don't read any of his speeches specifically.  A kid who comes out of my class would be familiar with two Reagan speeches, the Iran-Contra apology and "Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall"...but we don't read the actual text of either.

Thankfully, AP curriculums operate outside other stuff like "Common Core" and state standards, because we're teaching towards a standardized national test.
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Re: This argument started in Colorado last semester...
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2015, 03:03:46 pm »
the focus of school curriculum should be on math and computer science.  :bananbang
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Front Porch

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Re: This argument started in Colorado last semester...
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2015, 05:33:12 pm »
I am not sure how you balance the negative and positive aspects of history when you only have so many weeks to teach what took place over hundreds of years.  My only thought is we shouldn't avoid considering the things we have done great and the things we have done poorly.


JohnPaul

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Re: This argument started in Colorado last semester...
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2015, 07:15:20 pm »
I explain the argument to my "KIDS"
Kids = a young person , an immature goat .......
 How hard is it to refer to them as your students  :popcorn

So you're talking to 18 year old students and you say , " good morning kids !"
 No wonder they fvck with you  :drink