Ginni Thomas

Scholar: Under New AP Standards, ‘American History Will Not Be About America’ [VIDEO]

Ginni Thomas Contributor
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Stanley Kurtz, a senior fellow with the Ethics and Public Policy Center, sees America being fundamentally transformed by a host of pernicious Obama policies, including education initiatives which are nationalizing school curriculum without a single vote.

This month, America’s best and brightest high school students will take a controversial new advanced placement U.S. history (APUSH) test crafted by many of the same ideologues — including David Coleman — who birthed the unpopular Common Core standards for math and English. Scholarly critics of the APUSH framework, like Kurtz, are waking up to the dangers of the 70 or more pages of framework for teaching U.S. history issued by the College Board in 2012 to replace the five pages of general topics previously under-girding the flexible teaching of American history.

Warning of more subjects prescribed by the College Board, Kurtz says in this video interview that few are seeing the scope by which these progressives hope to nationalize America’s curriculum. Dissent and traditional notions will be less tolerated if the left continues unimpeded.

Asked about the stakes of Americans forgetting their unique founding, Kurtz says, “If we don’t know our history; if we don’t understand the principles of American government; if we don’t understand what the Constitution is; then we won’t be able to understand that the Constitution is potentially violated by a president who is overreaching.”

Foremost in the founders’ minds, he says, is how Rome fell to Caesar, and how self-government and liberty can be threatened if our history is swept aside.

Although seemingly absurd, “American history will not be about America,” he says. American exceptionalism, to left-wing ideologues, is a quaint and excessively positive notion to be discredited through re-education efforts. Leftists decry patriotism that emanates from history that touts American exceptionalism. The ideologues believe that, without proper training and re-education, Americans would exhibit excessive bias against those who are not Americans.

Asked about the emphasis on creating “global citizens” as opposed to understanding the founding principles of America, the conservative scholar says progressives decry American exceptionalism and belittle self-government. Instead, they value trans-globalism, open borders and the United Nations.

“Global citizenry is the antithesis of democracy,” Kurtz says. “You can’t be free, if you are not sovereign.”

Kurtz argues that “by undercutting the traditional American story” of understanding how the principles of liberty and equality have worked to unify citizens, progressives want to focus on oppression and hyper sensitivities of race, gender and class. This liberal orthodoxy and recreation of America’s history, Kurtz warns, mean that progressives are “setting themselves up for a lot of dangerous mini-nationalisms” that cause bigotry and hatred.

“It’s a mistake,” he believes.

Commenting about the narratives being driven in Ferguson and the gang rape hoax at the University of Virginia, Kurtz says, “young people who are coming out of these history classes are being primed for these kinds of bogus crusades” where the narrative of oppression trumps facts. There is “almost a yearning to recapitulate these old battles and a refusal to recognize we have made progress,” he says.

As for what citizens can do, Kurtz expects more criticism of the APUSH framework by more scholars who are learning of this nationalization of America’s education. Grassroots activists are encouraged by Kurtz to have their state legislators pass resolutions condemning the College Board framework and ask for new forms of competition to that group’s monopoly.

Discussing Hillary Clinton’s recent endorsement of Common Core, Kurtz says it “reveals her big government soul,” and he can see where the progressive education agenda could become a defining issue in the 2016 race.


Kurtz, a scholar, author and social critic from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was an old-fashioned liberal who became more conservative after numerous experiences of wrenching hypocrisy and political correctness in the academy. He got his Ph.D. in social anthropology from Harvard, has won numerous teaching awards and has written several books.

For more on Stanley Kurtz, see here and here.

For more about the APUSH controversy, read Lynne Cheney, Peter Wood, Ron Radosh, and Paul Mirengoff.

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