Mar 3, 2015

Do We Need Core Guidelines for History AP? DUH!

History should not be a dead collection of facts about the past, meant to serve as a coherent view that promotes "national unity". History is our collective memory that lives with us today. Knowing the what, who, why, where, when, and how of past experience, helps to inform our understanding of the present, and to determine possible outcomes our course of action may have in the future .

Imagine, if due to disease or injury, you lost your memory. How well would you function? It would be like getting lost in unfamiliar terrain. Not sure where you are, how you got there, and which way to go, you desperately look for familiar signs and following what you imagine be the right way. As time passes, it becomes increasingly evident that you are dealing with the unknown. Increasing fear drives you to grasp even more desperately for signs, imagined or real. False signs may not only misdirect you, but also distract you from seeing, and taking action upon imminent danger.

A comprehensive knowledge of  history, context as well as fact,  allows us to build upon past experience in complex problem domains: identifying resources, perceiving cultural influences, understanding risks, assessing data. AP students, and really all students,  will benefit from this especially when including historical content in content areas,. 

It has been stated that Core Guidelines  is too divisive, revisionist, and emphasizing the negative aspects like slavery. That history should emphasize American "exceptionalism"(AE).  I'm inclined to say, "REALLY?" OK.  May I suggest a title that reflects the real intent of  AE curriculum  "HIS-STORY - the Accomplishments of White Men Because Winners Get to Write the History and All the Rest of You are Losers or Don't Have  a Pair". A "collective dementia" of selective memory.  But I'll take a more charitable approach. I can't help to think how much more productive the discussion of Vaccines would be if the history of inoculation  was a standard part of secondary education curricula; or, the public's response to the Ebola outbreak, if the history of epidemics was a standard part of health curricula. In studying this history, I believe one clearly sees there are consequences from ignorance and prejudice, and our country benefits when it overcomes these barriers. And our history demonstrates this repeatedly. Some time to appreciate the light we must understand there is the dark side. But you don't have to go to the Dark Side. 

We have not realized our full potential.
We can destroy the Powers of Ignorance and Indifference
They has have foreseen it.
Join us, and we shall rule the galaxy with critical insight
It is our destiny.

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