Teachers fight to keep pre-colonial history in AP course curriculum
© Getty Images

High school history teachers are fighting back against a change to the Advanced Placement World History course, arguing that it will eliminate lessons on pre-colonial civilizations and present a Eurocentric view of the world.

Under the changes, the AP course will start teaching world history from the year 1450, which largely eliminates study of the pre-colonial Americas, Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

Instruction on earlier eras would instead be included in a pre-AP course that is not tested. Teachers, though, argued schools won’t offer the pre-course due to its cost and that students would be reluctant to take it because it isn't eligible for college credit.

The change is set to take effect during the 2019-2020 school year. Schools will have to pay anywhere from $600 to $6,500 to offer the new pre-AP course, according to Politico.


The College Board, the organization responsible for AP courses, said it made the change because the current history course was too broad. The group noted that most colleges teach the same subject over two separate courses.

Teachers have widely objected to the course change, according to Politico. The outlet reported that a video of a heated exchange between a history teacher and Trevor Packer, the senior vice president of Advanced Placement and instruction at the College Board, has been widely shared online.

And a petition calling for College Board to not eliminate pre-colonial eras from the course has earned nearly 6,000 signatures, as of Tuesday afternoon.

Packer, the College Board executive, said on Twitter last week that the organization will consider reinstating some of the earlier eras into the course curriculum, and that officials will reach a final decision by mid-July.

However, he argued that the teachers had complained there was too much content to cover in just one year and the College Board still wanted to create two world history courses.

“A realistic and pragmatic understanding of the content that can be effectively taught and learned in a single class is essential to designing an AP World History class that will truly help students develop the ability to analyze history sources and write evidence-based essays – the skills most valued by colleges seeking to place students within their departments,” Packer wrote.