Letter from Trevor Packer

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Dear AP US History teachers:

I want to begin with a word of thanks.

After an exacting five-year effort to redesign the AP U.S. History course and exam, we placed that work in your great care. Over the past year, we’ve been filled with pride and admiration at how the AP U.S. History teacher community has embraced and burnished this new framework. You’ve used its flexibility to focus the course on local priorities and you’ve taken advantage of the opportunity to slow your pace of instruction and concentrate on areas that make an outsized difference in student understanding of our country’s story. We are especially grateful that you’ve established a foundation of instruction this year upon which we can continue to build and refine this great course. Of course, this year has also brought egregious misrepresentations of AP U.S. History, and we deeply appreciate the ways AP U.S. History teachers and students have rallied to oppose such falsehoods.

For all of that, and more, thank you.

As you know, this past winter we invited teachers, and the public at large, to provide feedback on the new course framework. It is typical for us to invite feedback during the first year of a new framework’s use, and then to make edits based on such feedback the following summer. Now that the public review period has recently concluded, the AP United States History Development Committee is currently at work considering ways to revise the concept statements that define the framework. Our goal is to clarify the document and make it easier to use in planning your course, while also addressing principled concerns raised by teachers and the public.

Many of you have read my recent letter published in the Wall Street Journal, part of our ongoing effort to defend, clarify and improve AP U.S. History. In response to the questions and concerns that letter raised within our AP U.S. History teacher community, please know that the changes currently contemplated for the 2015-16 framework edition will maintain AP U.S. History's solid grounding in college credit requirements and preserve the current framework’s commitment to supporting teacher selection of the specific historical individuals and events students will explore to bring each historical concept to life. Further, please rest assured that the edits will not require you to attend new professional development, nor will they require resubmission of your syllabus to the AP Course Audit.

I am confident that you will see the 2015-16 edition as a positive contribution to your work that responds to the feedback you have provided throughout the year. Once the committee completes its work, we’ll produce the new document and send an email to all AP U.S. History teachers notifying you of its availability online. This will be in late July. In the meantime, please continue the great work you’re doing in preparing students for a life of informed citizenship. The excellence you’re developing in the classroom will continue to serve you, your students, and our country well.

Warm regards,

Trevor