Two Tennessee Senators Pick A Bone With Advanced Placement History Guidelines

Senators Mike Bell and Dolores Gresham are questioning the materials the College Board is providing teachers.

Senators Mike Bell and Dolores Gresham are questioning the materials the College Board is providing teachers. Credit: Flickr / User: amanda_munoz

Two state senators are challenging how Advanced Placement history courses are taught in Tennessee classrooms.

Republicans Dolores Gresham and Mike Bell sent a letter to the state board of education, saying the course has “inappropriate materials, inaccurate textbooks and revisionist history.”

The senators are echoing a resolution passed by the Republican National Committee this summer that called new Advanced Placement guidelines “radical revisionist history.”

Senator Bell points to what’s left out of the guidelines as much as what’s left in. For instance, he says there’s no mention of the Holocaust or Martin Luther King.

“We should prioritize what happened to Martin Luther King and his role in the Civil Rights movement,” says Bell. “We should prioritize what happened to the Jewish people in World War II. But according to this framework for this class, they are leaving that out.”

Instead the guidelines mention the Black Panthers and Japanese internment camps.

The College Board, which oversees AP materials, has pushed back on the criticism. In an open letter, it said the guidelines are meant as tool to prepare for the final exam, and that all major parts of history should be taught.

For the first time, the board released a full sample test to show that questions about the founding fathers and pivotal events in American history are still included.

Senator Gresham has asked the state board of education to look at how AP materials mesh with Tennessee standards and respond in October.

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