Advanced Placement U.S. History is something that unites high schoolers nationwide, whether through those free response questions or the fun of document-based questions. But this year, when many of us take Advanced Placement U.S. History, or APUSH, there will be many differences.
For years, the curriculum of this relatively common course has been under attack. Some conservatives believe that the APUSH, which covers everything from the first European colonists to present day, gives an overly negative look at American history. This wide span of American History covers parts of American history that we aren’t particularly proud of—the Japanese internment, Trail of Tears, the racism of Manifest Destiny, deaths from lax labor laws, and so much more.
Many conservatives aren’t happy with this honesty. They believe that U.S. History should reflect the “exceptionalism” of our country. These responses have garnered much media attention: The Oklahoma House of Representatives Education Committee passed a bill trying to change the curriculum; presidential hopeful Ben Carson said that APUSH would cause students to join ISIS; the Jefferson County School Districts attempted to change APUSH curriculum to fit their more conservative viewpoints, and faced tremendous backlash from protesting students.
Conservatives are more pleased with the curriculum offered this year for APUSH. Students taking the class 2015-2016 and later (hey, that’s me!) will have an updated curriculum. This curriculum draws less ire from conservatives. Instead of explicit events that teachers should cover, it has big theme ideas that we should understand. Ronald Reagan, a polarizing president who brings ire and appreciation, has more positive coverage. Racism, which has had an ugly mark in American history, is slightly glossed over.
Will we be overwhelmed with American patriotism, as opposed to wanting to join ISIS? I don’t know. But what I know is that even though I love America, I want a truthful telling of our history.