The National Association of Scholars (NAS) concluded in a report that the College Board’s new 2015 AP European History examination (APEH) warps and guts the history of Europe to make it serve today’s progressive agenda.
NAS’s comprehensive study, The Disappearing Continent: A Critique of the Revised Advanced Placement European History Examination, documents how APEH treats Europe’s history as a neo-Marxist, generic narrative powered by abstract social and economic forces.
It mentions neither Christopher Columbus nor Winston Churchill.
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The Disappearing Continent revealed details including:
- APEH presents the history of government rather than of liberty.
- APEH presents religion throughout as an instrument of power rather than as an autonomous sphere of European history.
- APEH treats the movement to abolish slavery without mentioning how it was inspired by religious faith.
- APEH underplays British history throughout, thus minimizing the importance of Britain’s distinctive history in the European tradition as the champion of liberty.
- APEH minimizes and extenuates the evils of Communism, the brutal destructiveness of Soviet rule, and the aggressiveness of Soviet foreign policy.
- APEH virtually ignores Europe’s unique development of the architecture of modern knowledge, which made possible almost every modern form of intellectual inquiry.
NAS director of communications David Randall, the author of the report, said, “The College Board’s progressive distortion of European history powerfully resembles the bias in its 2014 Advanced Placement United States History examination (APUSH). The College Board’s persistent progressive bias substantiates concerns that the 2015 APUSH revisions do not represent a genuine change of direction.”
The Disappearing Continent recommends that the College Board revise APEH to portray Europe’s exceptional history more accurately. Its recommendations include:
- The College Board should restore the importance of contingency, culture, politics, and historical individuals, and reduce the importance of inevitability, society, and economics.
- The College Board should place the history of religion (including histories of Orthodoxy, Islam, and Judaism), the history of liberty, and the history of Britain at the heart of APEH.
- The College Board should also place the emergence of the theory and practice of free-market economic liberty at the heart of APEH.
- The College Board should accompany changes to APEH with parallel changes in all APEH materials, including textbooks, instructional materials, and teacher training.
“Since Americans should not rely on the College Board, or any one organization, to make these changes, NAS makes one final recommendation and that is that Americans should restore choice and accountability to secondary education in America by developing competitive alternatives to the College Board’s AP testing program, “Randall said.
David Randall is director of communications at the National Association of Scholars and writes on early modern European history and has taught European history survey courses.
The National Association of Scholars works to foster intellectual freedom and to sustain the tradition of reasoned scholarship and civil debate in America’s colleges and universities.
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