Colorado students, parents, and teachers are not satisfied with the Jefferson County Board of Education in Colorado. In the wake of student-led protests, the Jefferson County Board of Education in Colorado backed off Thursday night somewhat from a proposal to create a committee to review Advanced Placement US History curriculum – a sore subject in the community as of late.
While the majority of the board deemed this to be a compromise, plans are still underway for a Friday afternoon demonstration along Wadsworth Boulevard.
The board voted 3 to 2 to adapt existing polices so that curriculum review processes involve students, curriculum specialists, teachers, and community members appointed by the board, yet they did not specify whether the history course will be subject to review, reports Chalkbeat Colorado.
Hundreds of people gathered outside the meeting in Golden, Colo., Thursday afternoon before the meeting with great anticipation.
“Why the board majority believes they need their own select special committee smacks of hidden agendas,” said Ashlyn Maher of Chatfield High School, one of the students who have been behind the organization of protests, which have included students walking out of high schools throughout the district during the past week.
Ashlyn noted that the board’s own policy requires that a challenge to “learning resources” originate in the school where those resources are being used.
The debate over the format history is taught isn’t anything new. In the 1980s and ‘90s, proposed national standards for US history were shot down by Congress, in part because critics brought up concerns that they didn’t do enough to promote patriotism by emphasizing certain figures or teaching about specific battles.
Similar concerns about the new AP History framework arose from the College Board by people worried that it doesn’t place enough emphasis on the uniqueness of the nation. The framework’s purpose is to outline key concepts and to let teachers choose how to best teach them in depth, argues Tom English, president of the Organization of History Teachers, an affiliate of the American Historical Association in Washington.
“I don’t think the best way to teach patriotism and love of country is to teach a whitewashed version to kids who are pretty sophisticated,” says English. “They know there are things in our country’s past not to be proud of … just as there are things to be very proud of.”
Colorado Students Plan Additional Demonstration For Ap History Curriculum