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Senate agrees to dump AP History if changes aren't made, proving why Georgia never learns

A Republican legislator suggested to me one happy byproduct of the absurd Senate resolution to ban AP U.S. History is, “It took the focus off Common Core.”

Ligon's bill would not only have booted Common Core from Georgia schools; it would have cast out any test, course or curriculum reflecting a national effort, which could have affected the SAT, ACT and AP classes. The bill was moving along until educators and parents rebelled.

The Stop Common Core bill had something in common with the Revise AP U.S. History legislation -- both were scripted by extreme right-wing groups trying to win points with voters who contend American values are being stomped by lefties in Birkenstocks and Hollywood liberals in Jimmy Choos.

Of course, the nation's highest achieving states aren't participating in this AP U.S. History charade. Parents in those states are not going to sacrifice their children's education to political farce. And their lawmakers know it, which is why they are ignoring this scripted resolution.

In this scheme, Georgia stands with a handful of states, none of which is an academic leader. (Because true leaders don't sell out their students for political points.)

Virtually, all the metro Republican senators voted for the resolution yesterday, making me wonder if parents in north Fulton, Cobb, Gwinnett and Forsyth -- GOP strongholds and districts with high AP enrollment -- were paying attention.

The Senate passed Senate Resolution 80 on a 38-17 party line vote, proving our legislators have not studied their own history. Because it they had, they would recall the last canned piece of education legislation they embraced  – the 65 percent solution – was such a disaster even the GOP sponsor later disavowed it. This will be no different.

SR 80 would have the state withdraw from the AP U.S. history course and replace it with something else if major changes aren't made by the College Board. The College Board revised its AP U.S. History course to move away from dates and names and into the critical analysis that everyone keeps saying American students lack.

I don't believe Georgia will ever drop AP U.S. History despite the Senate vote.

At some point, parents in Milton and Peachtree City and Duluth will hear about this and not be happy. APUSH is one of the top AP classes in the state, and parents aren't going to see their teens denied an opportunity to take the course.

And Georgia -- which gets an F today in another new study on where we set the bar in student proficiency -- is never going to come up with a version of AP U.S. History that colleges will take seriously.

It's never going to happen because Georgia is not seen as an education leader.

And the Senate vote shows why.


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About the Author

Maureen Downey has written editorials and opinion pieces about local, state and federal education policy since the 1990s.