Several members of the conservative National Association of Scholars, including former Vice President Dick Cheney's wife Lynne Cheney, have again taken aim at the Advanced Placement U.S. History (APUSH) curriculum and tests. It echoes attacks by Republicans on APUSH last year, claiming it omits or minimizes religious influences in America and the free-enterprise system and ignores Republican heroes like Ronald Reagan. Dr. Ben Carson even claimed that the curriculum would make students "join ISIS."
But is that really the case? Here's a test to see how well you, and they, know the AP U.S. History curriculum.
1) Which of the following presidents is part of the AP U.S. History curriculum?
A) John F. Kennedy
B) Ronald Reagan
C) Bill Clinton
D) Barack Obama
The correct answer is B) Ronald Reagan. That's right: His anti-tax policies and role in the Cold War are featured, while the others are not included in the curriculum overview.
2) Which of the following women is part of the AP U.S. History curriculum?
B) Susan B. Anthony
C) Harriet Tubman
D) Phyllis Schlafly
The correct answer is D) Phyllis Schlafly, a conservative icon and ideological ally of Reagan's.
3) Which of the following groups is featured in the AP U.S. History curriculum?
A) American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
C) Moral Majority
The correct answer is C) Moral Majority, founded by the Rev. Jerry Falwell, who called for a greater role of religion in American society.
4) Which of the following writers are included in the AP U.S. History curriculum?
A) Adam Smith
B) Henry David Thoreau
C) John Locke
D) Karl Marx
The correct answers are A) Adam Smith, and C) John Locke. If you took the AP U.S. History class, you'd know they are key authors in support of free markets and capitalism.
5) Which of the following economic theories is mentioned the most in the AP U.S. History?
The correct answer is D) capitalism, mentioned eight times. Socialism is mentioned twice, and communism is noted three times, though each mention involves American attempts to stop it.
If you believed the AP U.S. History critics and missed a lot of these answers, don't worry. I understand. I am just as surprised as you are. I wouldn't have expected Reagan to get as much ink has he did, nor would I have expected to see so much on the importance of capitalism and religion in society.
But perhaps most of these lawmakers were busy on their committees and didn't have enough time to read through the actual AP U. S. History curriculum. And some folks will say just about anything to get some attention. But now that we know the truth, let's stop the silly antics and focus on preparing our students for some balanced (not biased) U.S. history.
John A. Tures is a professor of political science at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Georgia. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.