"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

David Coleman is the Face of College Board's Dishonesty and Cowardice

With more and more colleges and universities no longer requiring the racist and classist SAT for admissions decisions, the billion dollar non-profit that owns the SAT is desperate to maintain the College Board's test-based empire.

And so its CEO, David Coleman, has turned to further promotion of the College Board's subject area AP courses and the tests that go with them to maintain its revenue stream.  The creation of an AP course in African-American history promised to bring renewed attention to the College Board's portfolio of AP courses and tests.  (It is my deeply-held belief that any student who passes an AP exam and who subsequently is granted college credit for doing so has been cheated out of a real learning experience that can only be gained by successfully completing college courses). 

Coleman's desperation to get Florida's approval of its new AP course is evidenced by ongoing, secret negotiations with the racist history whitewashers who DeSantis has hired in Florida to cancel any efforts in Florida to preserve or expand diversity, inclusion, integration, or social justice in any public institution of learning.  Coleman's claim that his decision to modify, i.e., water down the course had nothing to do with efforts to mollify the DeSanti-tizers can easily be refuted.  Some examples from a February 13 article in the NY Times:

. . . the College Board also hurt its own cause among supporters, by whittling away material during the months it was engaged in discussions with the DeSantis administration, according to interviews with scholars, teachers and College Board officials, as well as a review of several drafts of the curriculum.

The organization also did not tell some of its academic colleagues of those frustrating discussions — or about the significant omissions.

Now, the College Board is defending the A.P. course it has spent years developing. The nonprofit has infuriated many African American studies scholars for what they view as a stealth betrayal. And its once-heralded course is mired in dissension.

. . . .

As the College Board prepared to unveil the final curriculum, leading Black studies scholars heard rumors that politics had influenced the revision process.

“We all suspected that the changes to the curriculum were prompted by political pressure,” wrote Robin D.G. Kelley, a historian at the University of California, Los Angeles, in an email.

On Jan. 31, one day before the final course was unveiled, Dr. Kelley and several scholars — including Professor Crenshaw and the legal theorist Cheryl Harris — met by Zoom with College Board executives, to ask if they had engaged in negotiations with the DeSantis administration.

“We were told by Trevor Packer that there was absolutely no communication with them,” Dr. Kelley said, referring to the head of the A.P. program.

. . . .

When the final course was released, a new set of concepts was now mentioned only in passing, as optional topics for a final project: reparations, incarceration and Black Lives Matter.

The term “police brutality” disappeared. But Black Republicans, such as Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, were added.

And there was a preamble that the College Board said will now accompany other A.P. courses as well: “A.P. opposes indoctrination. A.P. students are expected to analyze different perspectives from their own, and no points on an A.P. exam are awarded for agreement with any specific viewpoint. A.P. students are not required to feel certain ways about themselves or the course content.”

Professor Harris, the U.C.L.A. legal scholar, said the course’s legitimacy had been called into question.

“There is no way you can properly teach this material under the rubric of what DeSantis et al. are demanding,” she said. “This is a train wreck.”



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