Historic fail? Greatest Americans missing from proposed curriculum

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David Coleman, President of The College Board, and author of Common Core State Standards

David Cole­man, Pres­i­dent of The Col­lege Board, and author of Com­mon Core State Standards

New his­to­ry cur­ricu­lum stan­dards pro­posed for top high school stu­dents leave out such Amer­i­can icons as Ben­jamin Franklin and Mar­tin Luther King, Jr., paint colonists as big­ots and gloss over the Great­est Gen­er­a­tion’s fight to save the world from Nazi Ger­many, accord­ing to con­ser­v­a­tive edu­ca­tion activists who want the frame­work delayed — and per­haps scrapped altogether.

An open let­ter cir­cu­lat­ed by con­ser­v­a­tive edu­ca­tion activists is call­ing on The Col­lege Board to delay imple­ment­ing new Advanced Place­ment U.S. His­to­ry guide­lines, say­ing a “ris­ing tide of oppo­si­tion” believes the cur­ricu­lum will take the nation’s class­rooms in a bad direction.

The Aug. 4 let­ter, which is addressed to David Cole­man, president/CEO of the New York-based non­prof­it, claims the new 98-page cur­ricu­lum is a “dra­mat­ic depar­ture” from the five-page out­line pre­vi­ous­ly used by teach­ers and stu­dents and offers a con­sis­tent­ly neg­a­tive view of Amer­i­cans as oppres­sors and exploiters.

The frame­work ignores the rise of demo­c­ra­t­ic insti­tu­tions such as the House of Burgess­es and New Eng­land town meet­ings,” the let­ter reads. “It also omits the colonists’ grow­ing com­mit­ment to reli­gious free­dom and the emer­gence of a plu­ral­is­tic soci­ety that lacked an entrenched aristocracy.”

What’s miss­ing from the cur­ricu­lum, accord­ing to a for­mer pub­lic school teacher and author of two Advanced Place­ment prep guides, is men­tion of John Winthrop and his “city upon a hill” ser­mon as one of the key ear­ly instances of Amer­i­can excep­tion­al­ism and ref­er­ences to Roger Williams and the birth of reli­gious toleration.

What you’re going to find is our nation’s founders por­trayed as big­ots who devel­oped a belief in white supe­ri­or­i­ty that was, in turn, derived from a strong belief in British racial and cul­tur­al superiority.”

- Lar­ry Krieger, retired teacher and test prepa­ra­tion expert

And you’re not going to find Thomas Jef­fer­son and the House of Burgess­es and the cra­dle of democ­ra­cy either,” said Lar­ry Krieger, who retired in 2005 after more than three decades in the class­room. “And final­ly, you’re not going to find Ben­jamin Franklin and the birth of Amer­i­can entrepreneurialism.”

Instead, stu­dents exposed to the cur­ricu­lum — rough­ly 500,000 annu­al­ly nation­wide, many of whom will take the class as sopho­mores and juniors — will find a nar­ra­tive laden with tyran­ny and subjugation.

What you’re going to find is our nation’s founders por­trayed as big­ots who devel­oped a belief in white supe­ri­or­i­ty that was, in turn, derived from a strong belief in British racial and cul­tur­al supe­ri­or­i­ty,” Krieger told FoxNews.com.

Krieger, who spe­cial­ized in the Advanced Place­ment U.S. his­to­ry course dur­ing his years as a teacher, most recent­ly in New Jer­sey, par­tic­i­pat­ed in a con­fer­ence call Mon­day with oth­er activists seek­ing to delay imple­men­ta­tion of the new cur­ricu­lum for at least one year.

Jane Rob­bins, an attor­ney with the Amer­i­can Prin­ci­ples Project in Wash­ing­ton, also took part in the call. She said ongo­ing dis­cus­sions are hap­pen­ing with edu­ca­tion­al offi­cials in at least sev­en states to delay the cur­ricu­lum or block it altogether.

There are con­ver­sa­tions going on with mem­bers of sev­er­al of the state boards,” Rob­bins said, includ­ing Texas, Col­orado and North Carolina.

Texas State Board of Edu­ca­tion Mem­ber Ken Mer­cer, R‑San Anto­nio, report­ed­ly asked the board last month to delay the cur­ricu­lum while state offi­cials deter­mine whether it vio­lates a 2013 law ban­ning the reach­ing of Com­mon Core stan­dards, a nation­al ini­tia­tive adopt­ed by 45 states detail­ing what stu­dents from kinder­garten through 12th grade should learn upon grad­u­a­tion of each grade level.

Con­ver­sa­tions with crit­ics like Krieger and Mer­cer are ongo­ing, as The Col­lege Board tries to “find solu­tions” regard­ing the con­tro­ver­sial cur­ricu­lum, a spokesper­son for the orga­ni­za­tion told FoxNews.com.

Col­lege Board lead­ers con­tin­ue to meet with indi­vid­u­als who have con­cerns about the redesign to lis­ten, solic­it feed­back and find solu­tions,” a spokesper­son wrote in an email Thursday.

Rob­bins, mean­while, said her biggest issue with the cur­ricu­lum is how it por­trays Amer­i­cans as a thor­ough­ly pugna­cious bunch.

It presents Amer­i­can his­to­ry as one long sto­ry of groups in con­flict,” she told FoxNews.com. “It does not focus on indi­vid­u­als at all. The idea seems to be that the only force in his­to­ry worth con­sid­er­ing is the group iden­ti­ty — and all of these groups are in con­stant con­flict accord­ing to this par­tic­u­lar narrative.”

Rob­bins con­tin­ued: “There’s no under­stand­ing of what makes this coun­try great.”

Christy Arm­bruster, of Elko, Nev., detailed to the Elko Dai­ly Free Press why she thinks the frame­work should be opposed, say­ing it cur­tailed its sum­ma­ry of World War II far too short.

There is no men­tion of Hitler, the Holo­caust, D‑Day or oth­er his­toric bat­tles,” Arm­bruster wrote the news­pa­per. “Nei­ther is there any men­tion of the hero­ism and sac­ri­fice made by so many Amer­i­can sol­diers, includ­ing my grandfather!”