To Whom It May Concern,
My name is Melissa Hatch and I am a member of the Thomas Stone High School faculty in Waldorf, MD. I have been an AP World History teacher for about 13 years and been to the AP Reading for World History roughly 8-9 times. This year, I will be a Distributed Reader.
When I heard about the changes that will be happening again (as AP World has been having more changes than I can count!), I was very distraught. As a historian (and teacher), it is my job to educate my students about the world's history. As an AP teacher, I also have certain skills that I need to teach my students to prepare them for the AP exam (and college because that is the ultimate goal for these students!).
I am not a World Civilizations I person, meaning that I don't care for the content as much as I do World Civilizations II. I struggle like many other teachers to cover all of the content prior to the AP exam and have time to review for the test. However, we are doing our students a disservice by cutting out half of the AP World History curriculum. If we assume that students learned the information in World Civilizations I earlier in their educational career and that these students actually remember the information, we are just setting ourselves up for failure. In my school system, students learn the first half of the content in 7th grade and do not pick up AP World History until 11th grade. I would still spend a lot of my time reviewing the content to make sure that students understand it. One of the skills we are supposed to teach students for the writing is contextualization. How can we do this if they don't have any context to pull from? When students learn about the Renaissance, we look back to the classical civilizations around the Mediterranean world. Many of us teachers would like to bring back at minimum period 3, but all of them are necessary for students to receive a full picture of world history.
In addition to this, as historians, if we look at the content after the redesign, we are looking at a mostly Eurocentric view of the world as Europeans begin to conquer various locations in both Old and New Worlds. This is a WORLD history course. The foundation for diverse civilizations happened in the time that will be cut out by this redesign. Students will not be able to understand the world today if they do not have a basis of knowledge.
Another concern is that some states' graduation requirements might not be met with this redesign as not all of the content is covered anymore. Also by creating a pre- AP course and having the AP World History course, students might not be able to fit all of this in their schedules in addition to all of the other state graduation requirements.
Please consider listening to my peers and students to re- instate the content that was taken away by the redesign. This is not just about teaching a course, but teaching our students so they understand the world that they live in.
Melissa A. Hatch
Social Studies Dept. Chair
Co- Sponsor Thomas Stone Memorial Garden
Co- Sponsor of Key Club
AP World History Teacher
Thomas Stone High School