UPDATES SENATE REPORT
UPDATES SENATE REPORT
COLLEGE BOARD'S REDESIGN OF AP U.S. HISTORY
The redesign of the AP United States History Curriculum Framework (APUSH), implemented this fall in Georgia classrooms, has set off alarms among those who have great respect for our Founders and for the Judeo Chrisitian heritage of our nation.
The Republican National Committee condemned the new Framework in a resolution, noting that the new APUSH rewrite reflected "a radically revisionist view of American history that emphasizes negative aspects of our nation's history while omitting or minimizing positive aspects." The resolution mirrors the concerns of American Principles Project and Concerned Women for America, the two organizations that originally urged the College Board to delay the implementation of the new APUSH Framework and for a new committee to be convened to redraft the Framework in a way that is "consistent both with the APUSH course's traditional mission, with state history standards, and with the desires of U.S. parents and other citizens for their students to learn the true history of their country."
What is so worrisome about APUSH is that America's best and brightest students would be immersed in a distorted view of American history. Secondly, the College Board is a corporation that is paid with taxpayer money, both federal and state, for providing its courses, tests, and teacher training. Yet, nationwide, very few teachers, even fewer parents, practically no legislators, and not one state school board have had any input on the new Framework. This amounts to an end-run around taxpayer control of public education in general and U.S. History standards in particular. Sound familiar?
David Coleman (yes, that David Coleman who is the recognized architect of the Common Core), who is now the head of the College Board, is feeling the renewed fury of parents and educators over this latest top-down redesign of public school curriculum. In response to the outcry, he has released the sample AP history test to the public. In addition, he promises that the College Board will issue "clarifications" about the new Framework.
Coleman attempts to minimize the radical changes to APUSH by assuring teachers and parents that "the new Framework does not remove people or events that have been taught by AP teachers in prior years.
Yet, Larry Krieger, the original whistleblower on the new APUSH Framework, counters, "Unfortunately, facts are stubborn things. The redesigned Framework omits Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Dorothea Dix, William Lloyd Garrison, Theodore Roosevelt, Jonas Salk, Rosa Parks, Dwight Eisenhower, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and many other notable American heroes. And unlike the previous APUSH five-page Topic Outline, the new Framework does not rely on state history standards to fill in the content. Rather, it makes it clear that students will be required to know only the material contained within the Framework itself. So a student will not have to learn anything about any of these individuals to do well on the AP Exam."
What has been so dramatic, too, has been the expansion of what was once a true outline of five pages, to a full-blown curriculum framework of 98 pages. Krieger notes that this fact alone "makes it even more significant and troubling that so many American heroes have been excluded. We call upon Mr. Coleman to explain why the anonymous authors of the redesigned Framework had space for Chief Little Turtle but not for Dwight Eisenhower, or why they had room for the Black Panthers but not for Dr. King."
It is not only important people, but historic events have also been omitted, such as the Holocaust. Complicating matters, the Framework presents a biased and inaccurate view of many important facets of American history, including the motivations and actions of 17th-19th-century settlers, American involvement in World War II, and the conduct of and victory in the Cold War.
In an attempt to salvage the Framework by releasing the Sample Test, Coleman points out that "the exam opens with an excerpt from the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. On this college-level exam, students will need to not only analyze George Washington's 'Farewell Address' with care, but also articulate the influence of Washington's words on American foreign policy in the 20th century."
Krieger, however, will have none of the spin that comes so easily to the Common Core architect. Krieger points out the following context of the questions and answers.
"The Sample Test does open with an excerpt from The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin," stated Krieger. "However, the excerpt describes Franklin’s impression of a sermon delivered by George Whitefield. Neither the excerpt nor the three following multiple-choice questions have anything to do with Franklin’s life and achievements. Thus, a student could know the answer to the question without ever having heard of Benjamin Franklin."
Apparently, the same pattern holds for George Washington's Farewell Address. "The Sample Exam does contain an excerpt from Washington’s Farewell Address that generates four multiple-choice questions," Krieger explained. "The questions do not require students to articulate the influence of Washington’s words on American foreign policy in the 20th century. The multiple-choice question that Mr. Coleman refers to (Question 33) simply asks students to know that World War II marked the time when Washington’s Address ceased to influence American foreign policy. This also marked the only time that World War II appears on the Exam."
Whistleblower Larry Krieger deserves not only our thanks and respect, he deserves to have all of us following his lead. In this battle to restore public education to its rightful owners, meaning the people who pay the taxes and the parents with children in public schools, this latest battle front is one that has hit a raw nerve in those who care about the survival of the land of the free and the home of the brave.
American citizens instinctively know that when the true history of our nation is not taught with integrity to the next generation, our youth will have no understanding of their birthright of liberty and no knowledge of how to sustain the principles that maintain their freedoms. Citizens should tolerate no more excuses from their elected officials and appointed Board members who themselves appear to be losing sight of what it means to respect the people's right of self-government. For more information, visit CWA at cwfa.org/resources-new-ap-anti-u-s-history-curriculum-framework.
THE 2015 LEGISLATIVE SESSION BEGINS
The 2015 Georgia General Assembly convened on Monday, January 12th for the 153rd Legislative Session. The week was full of inaugural activities and swearing-in ceremonies with State Supreme Court Justice Hugh Thompson presiding. The Senate then unanimously approved the nomination of Senator David Shafer as President Pro Tempore.
As the Caucus Chairman for the Senate Majority, I worked alongside the Senate leadership team to complete the committee assignments for senators. In my new role as Caucus Chairman, this prevents me from serving as a chairman of any committee, but I will serve as Vice-Chairman of the Judiciary (Non-Civil) Committee and as a member on the Appropriations, Ethics, Health and Human Services, and Judiciary (Civil) committees and Ex-Officio on the Rules Committee.
On day three of the session, Governor Nathan Deal gave the "State of the State" address. The entire speech can be accessed at the following link:
During the address, Gov. Deal unveiled his proposed budget plans for the upcoming fiscal year, focusing on key state priorities such as education, transportation funding and healthcare. Last year, we budgeted for an increase in revenue of 3.4 percent and ended the 2014 fiscal year with an increase in revenue of 4.8 percent. Next week, members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees will spend a considerable amount of time combing through every line item of the state budget. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I will attend these hearings.
As the Caucus Chairman for the Senate Majority, I worked with the Senate leadership team to complete the committee assignments for senators. In my new role as Caucus Chairman, this prevents me from serving as a chairman of any committee, but I will serve as Vice-Chairman of the Judiciary (Non-Civil) Committee and as a member on the Appropriations, Ethics, Health and Human Services, and Judiciary (Civil) committees and Ex-Officio on Rules.
This week, I have already submitted one bill for consideration, SB 36, to prevent the injection of ground water into our pristine Floridan aquifer, an issue I have discussed in several meetings in the Third District and in the press over the course of the past year. Rep. Alex Atwood plans to present the same bill language in the House.
One of the most powerful events I have ever witnessed at the Capitol took place on Wednesday of our first week back in session. The "Standing for Our Faith Rally" brought together a wide array of pastors and speakers from the religious community. If I had to guess, there were between 400 to 500 people gathered in the Rotunda. The recent firing of Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran by the City of Atlanta just the week before galvanized the Christian community to rally to his side. Because his book, Who Told You That You Were Naked?, offended Mayor Kasim Reed, the Chief was first placed on leave without pay, then fired right after the start of the New Year.
This is still America, and freedom of speech and religion are First Amendment rights for all of us, all the time. Indeed, they are even more than that; they are universal human rights. People do not check their religious beliefs at the door of public service or at the door of their employers. This issue is uniting people across racial divides, political parties, and religious denominations. The speakers shared a sense of urgency that our fundamental liberties are under attack and in need of immediate defense. If this freedom is not protected, then all our freedoms are at risk.
The line-up of speakers and organizations represented was impressive. They included not only Kelvin Cochran, but his pastor, Dr. Craig Oliver of Elizabeth Baptist Church; Dr. J. Robert White, Executive Director of the Georgia Baptist Convention; Ken Barun, Chief of Staff for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association; Dr. Richard Lee, President of There's Hope America and former pastor of First Redeemer Baptist Church; Bishop Wellington Boone, President of Fellowship of International Churches; Dr. Alveda King, niece of the late Dr. Martin Luther King and representing Priests for Life; Rev. Jasper Williams of Jasper Williams Ministries and Salem Baptist Church; Pastor E. Dewey Smith of The House of Hope Atlanta; Bishop Paul Morton of Changing a Generation Full Gospel Church; and Dr. Gerald Durley, a well-known figure in the Civil Rights movement and former pastor of Providence Missionary Baptist Church. The rally was organized by Bishop Garland Hunt, Esq., co-counsel for Kelvin Cochran and former president of Prison Fellowship, and Rev. Mike Griffin, Public Affairs Representative for the Georgia Baptist Convention. The rally was also supported by many other organizations such as Concerned Women for America, the Faith and Freedom Coalition, American Family Association, and Georgia Right to Life.
After the rally, the group marched over to City Hall, singing as they went. They delivered approximately 35,000 to 40,000 signatures to Mayor Kasim Reed expressing their support for Cochran and for the urgent need to uphold our First Amendment freedoms.
This session could be one of the most dynamic and significant of the last decade. It certainly is shaping up to be one of great interest to citizens around Georgia, and when citizens are engaged, that can make all the difference for making good things happen in the legislature.
People in my district should know that my office has moved. My new office is located on the fourth floor of the Capitol, room 421, C. The new phone number is 404-656-0064. The email is the same, firstname.lastname@example.org. The website is www.senatorligon.com, and we will post updates there at least once a week and sometimes daily, depending on the news of the day.
GEORGIA STATE SENATOR