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Sponsor of AP History resolution: You are distorting my intentions


State Sen. William Ligon, R-Brunwick, says the AJC and this blog have misrepresented his resolution objecting to the content of the AP U.S. History, saying the language has been toned down in the latest version.

Here is his note to me and below is the current language from the Senate website so you can judge for yourself what the resolution is seeking:

Your editorial, while flaming in its rhetoric, is based on incorrect information. I realize we are on opposite sides in these debates, but it would help to at least receive the professional courtesy of knowing that you have a commitment to convey accurate information. Perhaps you do not take time to read legislation for yourself; however, that is the least I would expect from a reporter or an editor before penning an article or an opinion. If you would like for me to write a piece in response to your article, just let me know.

Below, you will see the note that my assistant wrote to Eric Stirgus. Perhaps you just read his article and based your facts on his report. However, he also failed to read the final version of the legislation.

Sincerely,

Senator William Ligon, Caucus Chairman

Here is the aforementioned note from Ligon’s assistant to our news reporter:

As you know by covering the legislature, the committee process often results in several drafts of legislation before it goes to the floor for a vote. When the hearing occurred, there was good testimony on both sides. It was apparent that the College Board acknowledged many shortcomings in the Framework. There was a promise made that those shortcomings would be addressed. Thus, all the punitive language that was in the original draft was removed. In addition, from the other side, a very good case was made that competition would enhance accountability and provide much needed choice. It was acknowledged that the College Board, in essence, has a monopoly over the coursework and testing for college-bound students. This is not a good situation for state taxpayers. Thus, the resolution addresses this problem by advancing the need for competition.

I'm not sure how you address corrections of a substantive nature like this, but I thought you should be aware of this information.

Thanks,

Sherena Arrington

Allow me to stress again the Senate does not plan to actually kill any AP classes because such an action would outrage the voters who matter most to Senate and House leaders.

In earlier blogs, I called this effort a charade to win political points and that's what it is. Nothing more.

What voters ought to resent is the Senate using our schools in political ping pong. To spend tax dollars to hold hearings on this nonsense is embarrassing. One Senator told me outright, "This will never happen. It is just something we have to do for the base."

Here is what the resolution says should occur if the College Board doesn’t revise its AP U.S. History framework:

WHEREAS, despite offering revisions and clarifications to the framework, the College Board has made no substantial changes to the themes and key concepts of the framework, thus requiring all content to be taught in alignment with those themes and concepts; and WHEREAS, the framework describes its detailed requirements as required knowledge for Georgia students; and WHEREAS, to prepare their students for the APUSH examination, Georgia APUSH teachers will have to teach the APUSH required knowledge through the lens of the APUSH themes and concepts, to the detriment of the state mandated Georgia Performance Standards; and WHEREAS, the framework will thus have the effect of usurping the state mandated Georgia Performance Standards.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE GEORGIA GENERAL ASSEMBLY:

(1) That the State Board of Education instruct the College Board to return to an approach more compatible with the traditional topic outline, which respects and allows flexibility to incorporate the Georgia Performance Standards for Social Studies in classroom teaching and specifically incorporates the Georgia Performance Standards' emphasis on America's founding principles and the uniqueness of America's role in the world;

(2) That the State Board of Education instruct the College Board to return to an APUSH examination that aligns with the approach described in paragraph (1) of this resolution;

(3) That the Georgia congressional delegation is urged to push for greater market competition in funding for the College Board;

(4) That the Governor is directed to contact other governors of several or all states to join Georgia in efforts to further market competition in advanced subject based testing for college credit; and

(5) That the State Board of Education and the Georgia Department of Education are directed to explore alternatives to the College Board's Advanced Placement program that would allow Georgia students to obtain college credit by mastering the content dictated by Georgia standards, including the possible redirection of state funds for professional development activities, textbooks, or other instructional materials, and that the Governor would seek reciprocity among several or all states and urge them to do likewise.

 

 


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