Saturday, May 16, 2015

Exceptional It Is reports

A national debate over the Advanced Placement U.S. History exam has landed in New Jersey.

State Sen. Joe Kyrillos (R-Monmouth) on Thursday introduced a non-binding resolution (SR128) that urges the College Board — which writes the exam that allows high school students to get college credit — to revise its framework for guiding teachers.

"It strikes me that there is an inordinate emphasis on political correctness and so-called balance that is designing potential curricula and guidelines," Kyrillos told The Auditor. "And the AP test doesn't properly portray our history, the beginnings of our country, its values and its unique role in the world, past and present."

According to the resolution, the framework the College Board adopted in 2012 "reflects a seemingly biased view of American history, overemphasizing the negative aspects of our nation's history while omitting and minimizing many of the positive aspects."

The resolution goes on to say that the new test's framework "does not adequately discuss America's Founding Fathers, the principles of the Declaration of independents the religious influences on our nation's history." 

Fair enough. Perhaps the new test can quiz students on which of the Founding Fathers thought Roman Catholics shouldn't be second-class citizens or how many enjoyed buying and owning other human beings.  Then there could be an essay question asking the students to explain why with the guiding hand of the Almighty, the feminine half of the nation remained subservient to the other half for so long.

Elsewhere in the country, we read conservatives "on several states' school boards have taken issue with the framework for not emphasizing "American exceptionalism"and focusing what they say are liberal and "identity politics" themes."

Recognition of racism and sexism is common but American exceptionalism can be viewed also through the lens of class. Jason DeParle of The New York Times found three years ago

While Europe differs from the United States in culture and demographics, a more telling comparison may be with Canada, a neighbor with significant ethnic diversity. Miles Corak, an economist at the University of Ottawa, found that just 16 percent of Canadian men raised in the bottom tenth of incomes stayed there as adults, compared with 22 percent of Americans. Similarly, 26 percent of American men raised at the top tenth stayed there, but just 18 percent of Canadians.

“Family background plays more of a role in the U.S. than in most comparable countries,” Professor Corak said in an interview....

In 2006 Professor Corak reviewed more than 50 studies of nine countries. He ranked Canada, Norway, Finland and Denmark as the most mobile, with the United States and Britain roughly tied at the other extreme. Sweden, Germany, and France were scattered across the middle.

The lack of mobility (video below on perception of mobility) could be tempered but, DeParle notes, "the United States maintains a thinner safety net than other rich countries, leaving more children vulnerable to debilitating hardships.

Even if trade promotion authority and the Trans-Pacific Partnership are not enacted, it is likely to get worse. "Most of the studies," DeParle found, "end with people born before 1970,while wage gaps, single motherhood and incarceration increased later. Until more recent data arrives," the National Review's Reihan Salaam argues, "we don't know the half of it."

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