An Open Letter to David Coleman on Behalf of America’s AP U.S. History students

Mr. David Coleman
President and Chief Executive Officer
The College Board
45 Columbus Avenue
New York, NY 10023


August 4, 2014

Dear Mr. Coleman:

As you know, there is a rising tide of opposition to the AP U.S. History Framework. Concerned citizens and elected officials are increasingly alarmed at the direction it will take our schools, our teachers, and our high school students.

Here is a very brief summary of the problems with the APUSH History Framework:

Flaws in the Framework

The new 98-page AP U.S. History curriculum is a dramatic departure from the five-page Topic Outline previously used by the College Board to guide the curriculum.

The new Framework inculcates a consistently negative view of American history by highlighting oppressors and exploiters while ignoring the dreamers and innovators who built our country. Instead of striving to build a “City upon a Hill,” as generations of students have been taught, the colonists are portrayed as bigots who developed “a rigid racial hierarchy” that was in turn derived from “a strong belief in British racial and cultural superiority.” The Framework ignores the rise of democratic institutions such as the House of Burgesses and New England town meetings.  It also omits the colonists’ growing commitment to religious freedom and the emergence of a pluralistic society that lacked an entrenched aristocracy.

The new Framework continues its theme of oppression and conflict by reinterpreting Manifest Destiny from a belief that America had a mission to spread democracy and new technologies across the continent to something that “was built on a belief in white racial superiority and a sense of American cultural superiority.”

The new Framework repeatedly ignores the heroism and sacrifices of America’s servicemen and women. For example, the Framework makes no mention of the sacrifices America’s Greatest Generation made to rescue much of the world from a long night of Nazi and Japanese tyranny. Instead, the Framework focuses solely on the negative aspects of America’s involvement in the war:  “the internment of Japanese Americans, challenges to civil liberties, debates over race and segregation, and the decision to drop the atomic bomb raised questions about American values.”

Framework apologists have argued that the document is not intended to provide a comprehensive list of people and topics. But the expansion of the Framework from five to 98 pages makes it even more significant and troubling that American heroes such as Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, Dwight Eisenhower, Jackie Robinson, Jonas Salk, Neil Armstrong, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., have been excluded. While the document does not have room for these heroes it does have space for Chief Little Turtle, the Students for a Democratic Society, and the Black Panthers.

Lack of Alignment With State Standards

The redesigned Framework sets a number of dangerous precedents. By providing a detailed course of study that defines, discusses, and interprets “the required knowledge of each period” the College Board has in effect supplanted local and state curriculum by unilaterally assuming the authority to prioritize historic topics.

State US History standards and the College Board’s new Framework are like oil and water – they will not mix. The old five-page Topic Outline provided a traditional baseline that did not conflict with state standards and in fact relied on the state standards for much of its content. The new 98-page document establishes a baseline so far to the left that it conflicts with virtually all state standards.

A correlation commissioned by the College Board revealed 181 post-Civil War items required by the Texas Standards that are not covered in the College Board’s new Framework. An analysis of the Georgia US History Standards revealed 132 Georgia elements that are not in the Framework. In addition, the College Board Framework contains at least 60 elements that are not covered in the Georgia Standards.

If overburdened APUSH teachers cover the missing material from state standards at all, they will necessarily do so quickly and superficially. The reason is that the Framework itself makes clear that nothing outside the Framework will appear on the APUSH Exam. Because their first responsibility is to prepare their students for that Exam, the teachers will focus on the often radical concepts of the Framework rather than on their state standards.

Lack of Instructional Resources

One year ago, APUSH teachers could count on using a wealth of high-quality materials to help them prepare lessons and evaluate student performance. The preparation materials included eight released tests with 680 multiple-choice questions. In addition, the College Board’s AP Central website provided a trove of valuable materials that included 26 Document-Based questions, 104 essay questions, and almost 400 graded student-produced sample essays. The materials are now all outdated by the new exam format.

The College Board has replaced these materials with just one Sample Test and no graded sample essays. This will not provide teachers with an adequate amount of preparation materials for a full-year course. The lack of a full complement of tests and sample essays will particularly handicap the growing number of new AP U.S. History teachers. And because access to this Sample Test is restricted to certified APUSH teachers, other educators such as homeschoolers will not have even this paltry resource for preparation.

Restore the Topic Outline and Revise the Framework

We recognize that the Framework was created before you assumed the College presidency. We still know very little about the process that was used to write the Framework. For example, its author or authors remain anonymous.

Many concerned APUSH teachers have raised questions about the Framework’s negative content and tone. They wonder how they can reconcile the twin goals of preparing their students to score well on the APUSH exam with the traditional goal of preparing their students to be well-educated citizens.

Our APUSH teachers should not be placed in this unprecedented predicament. We urge you to delay the implementation of the new AP U.S. History Framework for at least a year and reinstate the time-honored Topic Outline. The time can be used to form a new and more transparent committee to write a balanced study of American history that respects state curriculum standards and gives our students an unbiased picture of their country’s past.

[the undersigned]

Oppose New AP Standards!

I oppose the College Board's decision to change the AP U.S. History Curriculum framework and want to add my name to this letter.


1,318 signatures

Share this with your friends:


Latest Signatures
1,318Kandace KnoblochFeb 22, 2015
1,317Ronald Reagan sold weapons to terroristsFeb 21, 2015
1,316Joseph Goebbels, Mr. David Coleman is Jewish. And Germany At Least Acknowledges It Commited Genocide. We Can't. Feb 21, 2015
1,315frantzy felixFeb 20, 2015
1,314America was born perfect Then it got more perfectFeb 20, 2015
1,313Jacquelyn StaubFeb 20, 2015
1,312Joseph Goebbels - The National Socialist German Workers' Party stands with you, Mr. ColemanFeb 20, 2015
1,311Did You People Go To College?Feb 20, 2015
1,310Henry WillshireFeb 19, 2015
1,309Mark AndersonFeb 19, 2015
1,308"Reality has a well-known liberal bias" - Stephen ColbertFeb 19, 2015
1,307This letter is from liars. List of authors is right in front of the Framework description More propaganda to keep students from learningFeb 19, 2015
1,306Rod GudroeFeb 19, 2015
1,305Yhgtbsm YoucanhaveyourownopinionnotyourownfactsFeb 19, 2015
1,304Fuck you, conservatives who think this country is SO great; wake up, some European countries ended slavery before us, think about that!Feb 19, 2015
1,303Roderick GrantFeb 19, 2015
1,302Michael WishonFeb 19, 2015
1,301FuckingDipshits WhoLikeToCutEducationOfHistoryForThoseWhoCan'tEvenVoteOnThisIssueFeb 19, 2015
1,300A Guy That Completely Supports AP Standards and Hopes These Efforts Come to Nothing For The Sake of Our Society's FutureFeb 19, 2015
1,299Fuck RevisionistsFeb 19, 2015
1,298Outdated CultureWarriorFeb 19, 2015
1,297Inbred RedneckFeb 18, 2015
1,296fuck youFeb 18, 2015
1,295conservatives can be pretty ignorantFeb 18, 2015
1,294Young KohFeb 18, 2015
1,293I fully support AP standards. The authors of this letter can not meet them.Feb 18, 2015
1,292Inbred Cousin Banging Oklahoma Moron SmithFeb 18, 2015
1,291Evan HatcherFeb 18, 2015
1,290Caitlin PatrickFeb 18, 2015
1,289HowTheHellDidOurLegislatures GetElectedFeb 18, 2015
1,288Weedlord BonerhitlerFeb 18, 2015
1,287Un AcceptableFeb 18, 2015
1,286Christie DykstraFeb 18, 2015
1,285Craig DavidsonFeb 18, 2015
1,283Dumb Ass republicanFeb 18, 2015
1,282Turd FergusonFeb 18, 2015
1,281Stupid IdiotFeb 18, 2015
1,280Jizzbucket OnherfaceFeb 18, 2015
1,279Andrew UtleyFeb 18, 2015
1,278Fuck Face McGeeFeb 18, 2015
1,277Backwards ThinkerFeb 18, 2015
1,276Somedumbassrepublican WhoisscaredofknowledgeandfactsFeb 18, 2015
1,275Stupid AssFeb 18, 2015
1,274Stefanie EldridgeFeb 18, 2015
1,273Kimberly WeaverFeb 13, 2015
1,272Robert AskewFeb 12, 2015
1,271Elizabeth TardifFeb 10, 2015
1,270Melanie WillsFeb 06, 2015
1,269Ton N.Jan 16, 2015