Thursday, September 29, 2016

Not AP History

 Updates from Ms. Grant (via her own blog:)

A few clarifications and one correction, based on questions I’ve seen in my Twitter mentions.
  • The text I posted was copied from a 55-page packet called US History Special Victims Unit, not a textbook.
  • Students were given the packet at the beginning of the school year and told it was meant to supplement the textbook and was information that could be on the AP exam.
  • The students hadn’t yet been given any assignments based on the material presented in the packet.
  • There are no citations anywhere in the 55-page packet.
  • I do not know who the author of the packet is.
  • The information isn’t presented as discussion points for consideration. It is presented as a summary of US History.
  • The note at the end of 3rd excerpt I posted on Twitter appears to have been written by the teacher.
  • In one of my Tweets I stated he taught my daughter’s AP World History class last year. I was incorrect, he taught her AP European History class. My apologies to her 9th grade AP World History teacher.
  • My daughter attends a public school in Washington state.
  • Much of the information in the packet is basic historic facts (without any citations). The biased parts tend to be in the recent history sections.
  • I will not release the entire document.
I have refrained from naming the school district and school, because I want to give the principal and school district the opportunity to deal with the situation. They are aware that my Tweets went viral and that I’ve received several request for interviews. This morning another parent and I met with the principal. This is what I learned.
  • The packet was never submitted for approval to be distributed to students as supplemental material.
  • Today the packet was recalled. It is likely that most of the students hadn’t read any portion of it yet (as mentioned above, no assignments had been given).
  • The teacher has apologized to the students and acknowledged the material was unacceptably biased.
  • The principal will be monitoring all materials distributed by the teacher.
  • The principal sent a notice to all teachers last week with a reminder to keep politics out of classroom discussion and materials, except when being used as a lesson in critical thinking/presenting multiple sides.
  • The school district is aware of the contents of the packet. They will be monitoring the situation and the teacher.
End of update

Pretty jaw-dropping story from one of the islands of Puget Sound; an AP History teacher is writing his own version of U.S. History and handing it out to students.

Author and archaeologist (and parent) Rachel Grant tweeted out portions today.  (Her bio says she lives on an island in our region.)

Here's the sections she tweeted  that the teacher labeled, U.S. History Special Victims Unit and it includes Women in History, where he attacks Bill Clinton for affairs as well as Hillary (for staying with him.)

Then there is 1968-present: Tremendous Gains in Race Relations, but Trouble in Paradise.

 Racist, sexist - this guy covers all the bases. 


Anonymous said...

"As an archaeologist w/a history minor I know how important history is. And this is all the non-white male US history some students will get."

Oh I see what her real problem is.

I will translate,

"As an unemployed archaeologist and hack writer, I know how important it is to erase embarrassing facts from our history especially when those facts harm my teams agenda."

Progressive wingnut

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, Wingnut, you have to admit, what he wrote is not objective history in the slightest.

Eric B said...

Wingnut, it's pretty obvious that the problem is that the "history" appear to be melded together from talking points from the Dole, Nixon, and possibly Duke campaigns, not a reasonably balanced view of history.

Anonymous said...

"This is from the section "Women in US History" 1980s-present. The whole section is 5 paragraphs, but this was the longest one"

It's not clear from her tweets what Ms. Grant has an objection with. Is it the facts about Clinton's infidelities or those facts being included in the section about women?

What's most important is the fact Clinton was the second President to be impeached and he did embarrass the office along with setting up his wife to look like a fool.

The fact that she didn't leave him is a huge character flaw on her part.

As for the other stuff, I think the teacher is mostly guilty of trying to oversimplify a very complicated and emotional subject that is worthy of many books, not just a single chapter.

You calling the teacher a racist when it's unsubstantiated is poor form and would as so require for you to call the many black people having very similar views as racist too, are you prepared to call out the numerous black professors?

Progressive wingnut

Melissa Westbrook said...

Wingnut, no one has the right to to decide on someone else's marriage simply because no one knows a marriage but the two people in it. You can pass your own personal judgment about what you would do but these two people decided to work and fight for their marriage.

You think what he wrote about African-Americans was just an "oversimplication?" No.

I certainly will call out anyone who writes drivel like this.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Also, just to note - this was an AP class. That's a pretty rigid curriculum and I'm pretty sure they won't take kindly to this kind of personal injection.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Just maybe it is a political marriage? I bet the deal was never sexual fidelity. Mrs. Clinton must have seen some strategic advantages to maintaining the "marriage". She is a clever woman. Why second guess her in a matter she knows so much better than you.

Anonymous said...

Progressive wingnut's comments should be removed.

"The fact that she didn't leave him is a huge character flaw on her part."- opinion

"You calling the teacher a racist when it's unsubstantiated is poor form and would as so require for you to call the many black people having very similar views as racist too, are you prepared to call out the numerous black professors?"- racist

"Progressive wingnut"- not actually a progressive; conservative

-Seattle parent

Anonymous said...

One of the reasons we homeschool.

- reject whitewashing

Anonymous said...

Actually AP History is officially an examination, which students may take with no preparation or with any preparation that is available. AP History textbooks and course materials are not official but are provided to help students prepare for the examination. Anybody can write course materials and teachers can teach whatever they like in AP classes. Some are better than others at preparing students for what finally turns up on the examination. Where AP courses are offered, usually students are allowed to take the course and not take the examination if that is what they choose to do. The college board controls the "AP" logo and the AP exams but not what gets taught in the courses.


Eric M said...

Just not accurate, Irene. The CB does monitor syllabi, and teachers have to go to mandatory trainings. AP, is, after all, a for-profit business, so all of this creates more revenue streams. But the entire program, and all of its individual test areas and their corresponding high school classes, are under some level of scrutiny & control. This is not the way it was 15 or 20 years ago, and probably is response in part to situations like this one MW posted about.

You are correct about students not having to take the test if they're enrolled in the class, and I think they can take an AP test even if they're not in a class (although I've never heard of that)

I've never heard of CB people showing up in a classroom, but have heard of programs and teachers at specific schools coming under some scrutiny for lack of coherent, focused curriculum. Or teacher training and lack of expertise.

However, that's a slow process. I hope local school admin & parents are already having words.

Sounds like this guy is busy burning bridges.

Anonymous said...

And Rachel Grant is not a hack author, by the way. She's a very successful romantic suspense author. Calling her a 'hack author' was incredibly insulting - Regressive Wingnut should try writing and publishing nine books, several of them hitting best seller lists, and working alongside the industry's top sellers. She's pretty well known in the romantic suspense world.

Let's not be all sexist, wingnut! Success in some industries - romance writing being one of them - is actually controlled by and defined by women. Pretty f-ing progressive.

- proud hack

Anonymous said...

Eric M wrote "and I think they can take an AP test even if they're not in a class (although I've never heard of that)"

My oldest child passed the AP U.S. History test without having taken a corresponding class. He's a history nerd though; he was getting all excited about John Jay and the Treaty of Paris when he was a first grader.

I've heard of kids passing AP Env Sci and AP Human Geo without taking a class. Those tests cover about a semester of material that some schools stretch into a year long class.


Joe Wolf said...

... and some universities (my alma mater, Iowa State is one) let you test out of survey courses regardless of your AP experience. I was able to finish Freshman Comp & Rhetoric, General Chemistry and Western Civ. very quickly that way.

Helen Schinske said...

There are a lot of rules for what may be called an AP course. For instance, Lakeside no longer offers "AP courses" as such, but they do offer courses that culminate in most of the students taking a particular AP exam. They do that in order to have more control over the curriculum and so forth than they would if they offered traditional AP courses, and in their case it's apparently justified as the students get excellent exam results.

Helen Schinske

Helen Schinske said...


Anonymous said...

From the parent's follow-up post:

My personal goal here is to ensure that all students enrolled in AP US History – or ANY history class – get a solid, unbiased education...To other parents, I ask that you take the time to review supplemental material teachers send home.

The irony. Some SPS classrooms deliver a biased education, it's just biased toward a far left ideology and unlikely to be challenged here in Seattle. K-12 students are considered a "captive audience" and public school teachers are supposed to avoid overt political bias, be it far left or far right.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Observer, if you learn of something like this from your child's class that is overtly liberal, let us know.

Anonymous said...

Jon Greenberg?

Good Point

Melissa Westbrook said...

Good Point, I think he is a good example. Again, when teachers or principals go off on their own tangents, it can end up being a problem. I think his heart was exactly in the right place but that kind of thought needs to start at the district level.

I am almost ready to write my thread on "equity" and this will be part of it.