On Wednesday September 24th, nearly 1,000 Denver high school students from several area schools participated in a series of student demonstrations opposing proposed changes to high school history standards by a conservative-led school board.
The demonstration was directed at a plan designed to focus history class materials on topics that promote citizenship, patriotism, respect for authority, and the benefits of the free enterprise system, while at the same time discouraging civil disobedience and social strife. It appears that the proposal has had the opposite affect on the high school students, resulting in students chanting “Education without limitation!” and brandishing signs, one cleverly reads, “There is nothing more patriotic than protest.”
This series of protests follows a “sick out” day by frustrated teachers on September 19th, which shut down two schools. On September 22nd students began walking out of classes in droves, mobilizing effectively by using social media.
This proposal comes in response to the new national framework for the Advanced Placement US History curriculum—APUSH for short. Supporters say the new curriculum would benefit students by focusing on critical thinking and classroom discussions as opposed to memorization. Critics of the curriculum fear that it would be too critical of the nation’s past and place too much attention on the nation’s problems.
Presently, the district has not opposed the students’ civil disobedience and nobody has been punished or disciplined. “We’re going to allow students to make their concerns heard,” district spokeswoman Lynn Setzer said. She added that the district has sent administrators to watch over the demonstrations and ensure the safety of students. Deputies have also been dispatched to watch over the protests, which so far have all been peaceful.
No vote has yet to be scheduled on this controversial proposal. October 2nd is the date of the next school board meeting. So far, four consecutive school days have been interrupted and it does not appear that there is an end in sight.
To learn more about these protests and the differing opinions on APUSH from a local perspective, click here.