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Monday, August 13, 2007

This Just in......A Black History Exam? Something everyone Should pass!

Courtesy of BlackPRWire.com:

Advanced Placement studies and African American history

(BLACK PR WIRE) Advanced Placement (A.P.) curriculums across the United States seek to offer High School students more in depth studies in 37 specific areas including chemistry, calculus, European history, physics and Spanish literature (to name a few) yet educators are currently debating whether or not to ad African American history to that list. Several school districts across the nation have suggested this addition however the skepticism lays in the College Board. The College Board claims that it does not have any doubts about the significance or importance of African American history but is ostensibly concerned that American High Schools will muck the whole thing up.

It’s not hard to see why the College Board is skeptical considering the number of America students entering college each year, ill prepared to do college level work. Would the Advanced Placement program be able to appropriately assimilate African American history into its curriculum without getting the whole thing wrong? Without watering it down to the point in which it lost its authenticity?

As a graduate of the A.P. system myself, I can say that my U.S. History and Literature classes were seen as deadly dull to most students at the time. The way the curriculum was taught to us bored us to tears. We felt that history was sugar-coated and fed to us in large syrupy bites. Soldiers trekked through depressing forests via Revolutionary War literature and Hester Prynne bore her Scarlett Letter. Wouldn’t true African American history be a breath of fresh air? Wouldn’t it be nice to have an alternate choice?

Linda Lane, deputy superintendent for instruction in the Pittsburgh Public School system is the architect behind the plan to add African American studies. According to statistics posted on the Inside Higher Education website, only 17% of those talking A.P. courses in Pittsburgh are black as compared to a 57% black majority in this city. Asian students on the other hand make up nearly 11% of those in A.P. courses while only representing 5.5% of the student population. By including an area of study specifically honoring and educating black youth on the magnitude and importance of African American history, many educators hope to up the percentage of black involvement in this most prestigious program to simultaneously teach black youth about their own vital history in this nation and promote them in future academic study.

The A.P. system is a fine one. I wouldn’t have felt interested or challenged at all during High School were it not for the A.P. system of studies however what is considered classic education must evolve with the times. African American history is American history therefore why not offer it at the highest level of High School academia for all to discover?

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