Palo Alto High School students have always held mixed feelings regarding the Advanced Placement United States History (APUSH) course commonly taken during junior year due to its reputation for a heavy workload and extensive subject matter. However, most would agree that the class offers a frank view of American history, one which gives both the pros and cons of American policy and gives students the ability to pass their own judgement on historical events.
For APUSH students in Jefferson County, Co., this freedom is in jeopardy after a recent proposal passed on Oct. 3. The Jefferson County school board passed the proposal with a 3-2 vote that establishes a committee to review The College Board approved US history curriculum in order to remove materials that “encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law.” The board also stated that the “materials should promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free enterprise system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights.” In response to these actions, hundreds of Jefferson County teachers and students have exercised their right to civil disobedience and have walked out of the Denver area schools in protest.
The Campanile supports the students and faculty of Jefferson County in their efforts to maintain factual and accurate portrayal of US history. While positive aspects of US history should be taught to students, a favorable portrayal of the US and a comprehensive retelling of our history of civil disobedience are not mutually exclusive. It should not be up to the Jefferson County school board to decide whether its students are taught about the important popular movements that have shaped the country as we know it. What would the study of American history be without the Anti-War movement, the Civil Rights movement, the Suffrage movement, the American Labor movement and even the Revolutionary War? The Campanile believes that the Jefferson County school district should come in line with The College Board in order to put the needs of their students over their desire to promote their personal conservative beliefs.