Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, December 2, 2014

Presentation made by Kim Fink (Chairman, CCTA’s Common Core Committee) to the North Carolina General Assembly’s Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, December 2, 2014

Good Morning.

I am Kim Fink.

I am here today as a citizen representative for Coastal Carolina Taxpayers Association.

At the November meeting, representatives of the Department of Public Instruction, the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, and the College Board, made presentations aimed at deflecting criticism of the new Advanced Placement U.S. History (APUSH) Framework and its lack of alignment to North Carolina’s graduation requirements and The Founding Principles Act.   A case was made for allowing IB an exemption from the state law, and an explanation was given about why the Department of Public Instruction felt it was okay to substitute APUSH for U.S. History I, The Founding Principles Act.

At this meeting, Just prior to my address, Dr Atkinson, State Superintendent of Public Education, gave the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s (NCDPI) recommendations. Here is a link: NCDPI Recommendations.  You will note that not one suggested following the law, The Founding Principals Act.

We believe that the General Assembly got it right when House Bill 588 was passed mandating a semester of The Founding Principles to ensure all graduates from North Carolina had a firm foundation of our history. The United States of America is unique. We are the ONLY country ever founded on the principle that individuals are granted rights and powers by their creator, inalienable rights. The Federal Government doesn’t grant rights. As a matter of fact, the 10th amendment to our constitution states,”The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”

We, the people, are petitioning you, our elected representatives, to serve the state of NC, and not bow to the revisionist history portrayed in the new Framework, and to mandate that all students fulfill the letter and spirit of the law by taking a full semester of The Founding Principles, and to make U.S. History I a prerequisite for APUSH.

It is our intention to show you through our handout, that one of the problems in the new Framework is not WHO is in, or out, or WHAT document is referred to or not. It IS the WAY and the TONE that is used in formulating the statements in the Key Concepts. It is the use of emotionally charged and biased language that guides the concepts. Our history, taught honestly, tends to make a person feel proud to be an American. Much of what shows up in the Framework tends shame us and to swell the ranks of the blame America first crowd. When a teacher has flexibility to choose the source material to validate a key concept that is biased, what kind of sources can be found that will not also have the same bias? How is this going to create “critical thinking?” Will this kind of indoctrination lead us to more home grown terrorists?  CCTA has provided some examples of this bias here:

Through Our Eyes, APUSH Revealed

I have e-mailed two detailed letters to every member of this committee outlining our opposition to both the substitution of the Founding Principles class and the APUSH Framework that go into far more detail than five minutes will allow. I hope you’ve given the information in them your serious attention.

The IB class is called “History of the Americas.” Please note that the word “Americas” is plural. That title indicates equal coverage of the history of the AMERICAS, not just the history of the United States of America. It certainly does not devote an entire semester to the Founding Principles as our law requires; instead it gives a cursory nod to the U.S. as one country among the AMERICAS. We object to any exemption based on redundancy.

Last month, a representative of DPI stated that all the requirements of the Founding Principles are satisfied in Civics and Economics, as well as in previous grade work. We do not believe that this rationalization is in compliance with the letter of the law, nor the intent of the law. We disagree with the DPI argument, and ask you not to allow this compaction of the classes.

Yesterday, the State Board had a called meeting that included a presentation from Larry Krieger, native son, accomplished author and History Professor, and from John Williamson who is with the College Board. Mr. Williamson acknowledged the merit of a semester of the Founding Principles, as well as the idea that U.S. History I be a prerequisite. What he didn’t accept is any suggestion of revision, stating that because a specific word is not used in the Framework does not mean the “concept” is not there, but that it is “implied”. Words that should be embedded in this Framework are “American Exceptionalism” and “Federalism.” But they are not.

Mr. Kreiger put together two documents for North Carolina, refuting the College Board’s assertion that APUSH is in alignment with our Founding Principles Act, and taking a critical look at the College Board’s defense of the new AP U.S. History framework. They are posted on the e-board site of the State Board of Education and these links are provided so you can review them quickly.  The Founding Principal Act, Larry Kreiger, and A Look At Defense of APUSH, Larry Kreiger. If you would look at the examples provided, it is obvious that these concepts may relate to each other; however, they are not aligned. The use of the words “unalienable rights” is not there. This is just one example.

In closing, Coastal Carolina Taxpayers Association pleads with this committee and the State Board of Education to:

1. Continue to require all graduates to have completed a SEMESTER of the Founding Principles.

2. Mandate that U.S. History, The Founding Principles is a pre- requisite for APUSH.

3. Admonish the College Board for the failure of this new framework to meet the North Carolina law, as well as for its negative American bias, and request that appropriate revisions be made.

4. If no remedy is forth-coming, we ask that North Carolina consider asking our state college system to create its own version of Advanced Placement Classes and Assessments for in-state college credit, and that North Carolina defund the College Board in the budget.

Thank you, I’ll get off my soap box. For now!

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