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Jefferson County, CO, A Flashpoint in the Battle Over Public Education

Forget about abortion, gun control and voter ID, the latest political battleground for conservatives is the school curriculum. A new Advanced Placement History course created by the College Board, for high school students to obtain college level credit has enraged the right wing for placing greater emphasis on the role of women and minorities in American History.

The Republican National Committee is calling the course “radically revisionist” and denouncing what it believes is an anti-American bias. In Texas, the AP History course created such a furor that conservative lawmakers are now requiring high school students only learn state-mandated and approved curriculum rather than the AP course.

South Carolina legislators are pressuring the College Board to revise the newly created course which was designed to encourage less memorization and more analytical thinking.

But the strongest response has been in Jefferson County, Colorado where high school students staged daily walkouts last week to protest the school board’s 9 member curriculum review committee to ensure that learning materials promote, “citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free-market system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights” and don’t “encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law.”

The mostly conservative Colorado school board has also come under fire from teachers who are denouncing proposed test-based evaluations linked to salary increases.

GUEST: John Ford, Middle School Social Studies Teacher and President, Jefferson County Education Association