For the third consecutive day, hundreds of students from Denver and the surrounding area walked out of school in order to protect changes being proposed to new history curriculum. According to protestors, the changes, which are for an advanced placement class, are actually a type of censorship.
However, as stated by the president of the Jefferson County Parent Teacher Association the protests go beyond history. By making it possible for an outside committee to make changes to curriculum has the potential to open doors to censorship for a much broader range of studies.
Earlier this summer, the College Board released the proposed changes for Advanced Placement US history courses. Immediately, conservative activists from all over the country were angry, claiming the new framework actually skewed historical events.
In a meeting last summer whereby the curriculum was criticized, the Republican National Committee passed a resolution saying the change reflects a radical view of history, which puts more emphasis on negative figures and events than it does on positive ones.
Included in the debate, activists claimed the proposed framework has a connection to Common Core State Standards, which are considered as being heavy-handed intervention by the government within classroom settings. David Coleman, president of the College Board was a primary figure in the Common Core development.
The school board in Jefferson County Colorado wants to create a committee that would review the curriculum and be responsible for making any adjustments to the new history framework in order to address objections raised by conservatives. In the proposal for creating the committee, the board stated that classroom materials should promote citizenship, respect for individual rights and authority, patriotism, and benefits, as well as essentials for a free enterprise system.
The proposal also stated that any materials used in the new history course are not to condone or encourage social strife, disorder, or disregard of the law. However, the oversight of the committee would reach further than curriculum and text pertaining to history. This would be for all subjects taught, being allowed to take any objectionable materials before the board, which could take action if needed.
The problem that protestors have with the changes, as well as the proposed committee is that historical events might be spun differently and negative information buried. Barry Bolen, chairman for the State Board of Education is concerned that if the US history AP is banned from the curriculum, what will follow. He added that with the public outreach, there is concern of things being taken out of context.