How do our children navigate the future without knowing the past?


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by David Bruce Smith,

The College Board’s Advanced Placement courses offer high school students the opportunity to study a subject in depth. So, why are they dropping more than 8,000 years from its 2019 AP World History course?

The Board claims there is just too much content-- as it stands—to squeeze into a year, and many teachers agree. Conversely, there are others who object to arbitrarily “editing” history.

In fact, a New Jersey high school student has started a petition that has garnered more than 10,000 signatures. It requests Trevor Packer, the College Board senior vice president in charge of the AP program, to reverse its decision, and leave the World History course intact.

The student, Dylan Black, put it this way in his petition: “AP World History covers, as of 2018, 10,000 years of human history stretching from the Americas, to Europe, to East Asia, and everywhere else. The class is demanding on students, but is also one of the most rewarding, life changing classes I’ve ever had the privilege to take.”

It’s bad enough that too many kids today are deficient in their knowledge of history-- a fact that has been proven, repeatedly. One study by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) report found that only 18 percent of 8th graders were proficient in U.S. History. We should not be denying students who have a love of history the opportunity to immerse themselves in it.

We should encourage our kids to learn as much as they can about the past. How else can they grow into productive, civically minded adults without it?

Smith is a publisher, author and education advocate, who is co-founder of the Grateful American Book Prize, along with the late Dr. Bruce Cole, the former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The prize is designed as a means of encouraging authors and publishers to produce more books of historically accurate fiction and nonfiction that can instill a love of reading and American history in young learners.



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