Recently there have been protests in Jefferson County over proposed changes to the AP History Course Plan that would focus more on patriotism, respect for authority, and individuality. These changes come in wake of a recently elected, conservative majority, school board that is trying to push back against what they believe is “revisionist history”. Critics of the curriculum change have accused the school board of censoring history, and leaving out key points in American history where civil disobedience was necessary.
The effects of these changes may be far-reaching and could have an impact on the AP program at Pueblo West High School in the future. Mrs. Sloan, currently the only AP history teacher at Pueblo West High, gave her thoughts on the matter in a recent interview. “If you are wanting to de-emphasize civil strife and civil disobedience because you are concerned that your students will act in a way that expresses civil strife or civil disobedience, it seems to belabor that point that our founding principles were based on the belief that you could express dissent and a difference of opinion. I think that it is actually patriotic to encourage civil disobedience if there is an unjust law, the very foundations of the civil rights movement and the America revolution originate from the belief that citizens should have the right to protest if they feel like there not being represented. It is a very precious right for those citizens to assemble if they believe their rights are being compromised in any way. A precedent has been set in history for encouraging protest if our law is scene to be unjust.”
In the eyes of the conservative members of school board, America is being portrayed in an increasingly negative light; focus has been more on the controversies surrounding America rather than the accomplishments. World War 2, they accuse, has been watered down in history classes to focus solely on the internment of Japanese and does not pay any attention to the valor expressed by American troops overseas.
When asked about whether she supported this claim, Mrs. Sloan. “I would discourage anyone from looking at only the negatives in history, and I would discourage anyone from looking only at the positives. History has a way of including all of those different points of view. You are not hearing the entire story if you are just hearing the positives or the negatives. For history to be revealed to students, you have to cover all of it and not just select a few moments.”
As the protests in Jefferson Country continue into the week, the debate over whether the changes should be implemented is still open for discussion. Whether these changes will impact AP U.S. History at Pueblo West High School has yet to be determined.