Democratic candidates for the 2020 presidential election are embracing some of the most radical socialist ideas in American history: the Green New Deal, Medicare-For-All, and the Wealth Tax, to name a few. Most young Americans embrace Democrats’ socialist agenda. But what’s causing young Americans to embrace radical socialism?
Today we explore how the College Board has become politicized, what type of history they’re presenting in American schools, and why it’s important for Americans to understand their own history.
You don’t present students with other ideals. The only ideal you present them with is that of socialism. They don’t know that there are free-market ideals. They don’t know that American patriotism is an ideal. If you have any ideal at all, the only ideal they’re given is that of socialism. So anybody who’s idealistic, they aren’t given a choice for anything else to strive for. — David Randall
The Politicization of the College Board
The College Board is a nonprofit organization that provides standardized assessments for high school students and standards for college admissions. These tests include the SATs, PSATs, and tests for nearly 40 Advanced Placement courses. The College Board recently revised its AP European History and AP United States History exams. According to the National Association of Scholars (NAS), both revisions have become more politicized.
How has the College Board become politicized?
David Randall: There have been long-term changes, but the crucial thing is that a man named David Coleman became the head of the College Board about a decade ago. He had previously been in charge of the Common Core experiments, and he came in to align what the College Board does with what Common Core is doing. Common Core, unfortunately, has tended to worsen education nationally. So what this means is that the College Board has now also been aligned with this worsening of national education. It should be mentioned there is an awful, awful lot of internal turnover. In effect, a lot of people at the College Board resigned rather than go on with what he was doing, and he brought in a large number of his own followers.
You said he’s aligning the College Board with the Common Core; could you elaborate?
David Randall: The biggest thing here is that the Common Core tests for what they call skills more than actual factual knowledge. This, unfortunately, translates on the ground to students are not given enough factual knowledge. They are given the supposedly academic skills, which don’t ultimately translate to actually learning anything. You learn about the process of industrialization. You never learn the name of an actual invention of the Industrial Revolution or an actual inventor of the Industrial Revolution.
What Type of History?
The National Association of Scholars critiqued revisions of the AP United States History and AP European History exams, finding a progressive bias in both. The College Board did improve both exams, but a progressive bias remains, according to NAS.
You wrote The Disappearing Continent: A Critique of the Revised AP European History Examination; what concerned you the most?
David Randall: The biggest problem was the disappearance of liberty. The very words liberty and freedom barely existed. You would have no sense, or virtually no sense, that an enormous part of the history of Europe is about the birth of the idea of liberty and then its slow working out in political institutions, in society, in culture, in wars that preserved the liberty of Europeans and that expanded them. This is just constant throughout. Liberty disappears from their history of Europe. The second biggest thing is the disappearance of religion, of faith, which of course ties in with liberty. Religion gets severely minimized. They tend to think of religion simply as an instrument of dictators and tyrants sort of using religion. There’s no sense that people truly believe that religion matters and that religious liberty is enormously important in and of itself and then part of the broader story of European liberty.
Why Is History Important?
Why is it important for American students to study European and American history?
David Randall: There are two things at two levels in terms of what should history in the high schools teach American citizens, of students who are going to become citizens. There should, at some fundamental level, be you learn about the history of your own country and you learn what there is that’s lovable and admirable about. This doesn’t have to be simple rah, rah. You’re allowed to say America has faults, warts. But you ought to learn, by golly, there are wonderful things in your own past. Abraham Lincoln is one of the best human beings who ever lived. He freed millions of people. Our country is blessed to have had presidents as good as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Students ought to know something about that.
What Impact has Historical Bias had on Society Today?
People don’t know that socialism means mass murder and economic failure. They basically just think it means some sort of extreme Democratic policies is, in effect, what they think it means. They don’t realize it has failed horribly and murderously in the past. — David Randall
Our nation is divided right now. What can we learn from the Founding Fathers to unify our country today?
David Randall: There is the true meaning of civility. Civility too often now simply is used as a way to make somebody else shut up and not say what they really believe. You have to be polite; therefore, you’re not allowed to speak up for your own cause. True civility means not taking offense unduly, practicing self-control, learning how to criticize people you disagree with in ways that are polite and that make them want to keep talking to you. There were extremely deep divisions among the Founding Fathers, not least among some things that have some resonance, like how do you treat slavery. That was already an issue. They managed to talk to one another in ways that kept a very fragile union alive. Getting America to come together required a great deal of tact and patience. George Washington spent the last decade of his life controlling his temper–and he was naturally a rather angry man–and speaking civilly and respectfully to everyone no matter how much he disagreed with them or disliked them. And we need the civility that comes with self-control and respect for others. Again, not using that as an excuse to shut other people up. Self-control and respect for others that genuinely means encouraging other people to talk openly about what they believe.