With support from student advocates, a petition to the College Board is growing
ATHERTON, Calif., June 13, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Backed by a grant from Harvard University, Sacred Heart Preparatory (SHP) educators Kristen Kelly and Serene Williams are seeking to transform the national history curricula for high schoolers, bringing women's voices to the forefront by creating a new Advanced Placement course offering: AP U.S. Women's History. The pair have gathered 1,600 signatures to petition the College Board for the new course.
When the longtime educators received a 2022-23 Harvard teacher support grant, their initial goal was singular: to undergo research at the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America with the aim of updating current AP government course requirements to be inclusive of women. But their goal soon stretched.
The AP U.S. Government and Politics course requires students learn nine foundational documents; all were written by men. "It makes sense, however, that there are no foundational documents written by women required in this course since women are still not considered foundational to the American political system," said Kelly.
AP government courses sorely lack an intersectional lens, they argue—improvements are needed to incorporate the study of race and class as systemic reasons minorities are underrepresented throughout history.
Recent new courses that the College Board is piloting, namely AP African American Studies, have inspired the educators.
That course gained momentum through student advocacy, which is an important strategy, along with tapping key organizations for support to help gain the College Board's attention.
"Our students are eager to do outreach and ask for support—it makes a big impression on these organizations when it's coming from students," said Williams.
As part of a five-year plan to petition the College Board, they will present with students about the new course at more than a half-dozen upcoming conferences, culminating in the 2024 College Board conference, which "will put us right in front of other AP educators as well as the leadership at the College Board," said Williams. "We hope to receive a response; a course like this is long overdue."
ABOUT SACRED HEART SCHOOLS, ATHERTON
Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton was founded in 1898 and is located on a 63-acre campus in Atherton, California. The school is an accredited preschool through 12th grade school, with an enrollment of 1,185 students, and is a member of the International Network of Schools of the Sacred Heart.
SOURCE Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton