(Reuters/Mike Theiler)

Conservative hero Ben Carson: New AP U.S. History course would make students "ready to go sign up for ISIS"

"I think most people when they finish that course, they'd be ready to go sign up for ISIS"


Sarah Gray
October 2, 2014 1:00AM (UTC)

Ben Carson, retired neurosurgeon, Fox News contributor, domestic violence skeptic and "Tea Party star," is adding to list of "looney" beliefs." Carson, who may run for president, thinks that the College Board's new Advanced Placement United States History curriculum could cause students to go join ISIS.

At the Center for Security Policy's National Security Action Summit this week, Carson made his displeasure with the new AP U.S. History curriculum known.

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"There's only two paragraphs in there about George Washington -- George Washington," Carson stated. "Little or nothing about Martin Luther King, a whole section on slavery and how evil we are, a whole section on Japanese internment camps and how we slaughtered millions of Japanese with our bombs. A whole section on how we wiped out American Indians with no mercy."

"I think most people when they finish that course, they'd be ready to go sign up for ISIS," Carson continued. "This is what we're doing to the young people in our nation. We have got to stop this silliness. We have got to stop, you know, crucifying ourselves."

Many conservatives have spoken out against the new curriculum, including the Republican National Committee, which said it "deliberately distorts and/or edits out important historical events," the Huffington Post reports.

A conservative school board member in a Denver suburb even attempted to push for a more patriotic curriculum -- one that tamped down history of civil disobedience. This lead to protests by students and several sick-outs by teachers.

To be fair to the College Board, we as a nation did commit the aforementioned atrocities, and it is important that students learn about them -- not to show that the U.S. is a bad country -- so that we do not repeat history and learn empathy for other cultures.

College Board has issued two letters stating that the new curriculum is not anti-American. "People who are worried that AP U.S. History students will not need to study our nation's founders need only take one look at this exam to see that our founders are resonant throughout," College Board President David Coleman wrote in one letter, after a sample A.P. test was released. Another letter addressed the authors of the new curriculum: The Huffington Post explains:

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"Authors of the new framework -- a group of professors and teachers -- have said it is intentionally broad, so local districts have some freedom over instruction. They also said the new framework did not refer to specific historical leaders because 'teachers have always understood the need to teach them.'

'We had two key goals for the project. One was that the course meet the expectations of college and university history departments, so that the hard work of AP students on the AP Exam would continue to be rewarded with college credit and placement,' says a recent open letter written by the framework's authors. 'The other was that the course and exam allow teachers to go into depth about the most significant concepts of the course.'"


Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on innovation. Follow @sarahhhgray or email sgray@salon.com.

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