Summer Reading Contest Winner, Week 2: On 'AP World History Tries to Trim Thousands of Years, and Educators Revolt'


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Summer Reading Contest Winner, Week 2: On ‘A.P. World History Tries to Trim Thousands of Years, and Educators Revolt’

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A section of the Great Wall of China outside Beijing. Teachers worry that a truncated A.P. World History exam would cut critical content like the early Chinese empires. Related ArticleCreditKevin Frayer/Getty Images

By The Learning Network

  • July 10, 2018

Thank you to the 560 teenagers who participated in the second week of our 10-week Summer Reading Contest, and congratulations to Daniel Wei, our winner, as well as to our many runners-up and honorable mentions.

Scroll down to take a look at the variety of topics — from video game addiction to depression, fashion, fatherhood and the legalization of marijuana — that caught the eyes of our participants this week.

And please remember to always check the top of our contest announcement to find the right place to participate, any week from now until Aug. 24.

Winner

Daniel Wei of Katy, Tex., chose an article headlined “A.P. World History Tries to Trim Thousands of Years, and Educators Revolt” and wrote:

In the article, we learn that College Board recently decided to only teach world history from 1450 onwards. This revision omits the eighty percent of human history when Europeans weren’t the dominant power on the globe. It’s almost as if College Board regards the time period as unimportant.

To be fair, College Board’s objection to the current curriculum’s staggering size is valid. Having taken AP World History, I can testify to the course’s tremendous breadth and depth. However, as a Chinese-American, I can also testify to the fact that the solution to this problem should not be the removal of these eight millenia. This time period witnesses, among other things, the birth of agriculture in Mesopotamia, the scientific advances of Egypt, the advent of engineering in China, and more. None of these achievements were European, and to teach history from 1450 onwards is to wrongly attribute the success of the modern world to Europe alone, in a course already filled with Eurocentrism.

I chose this article because it illuminates the racism and bias that persists today in the most progressive, diverse nation in the world. It exemplifies the Western prejudice against nonwhites as less important and less consequential in the scope of world history, no matter how much we may deny it. When confronted with the hard decision of what part of the curriculum to cut out, what College Board has chosen to discard says a lot about them, and about our society in general.

Runners-Up

Sydney Augh on “Turning a Breakup Into a Positive Experience

Emily Axelsen on “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Emerges as a Political Star

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