Right Hooks

AP History Slanders Reagan

Apr. 13, 2015

In his famous speech at the Brandenburg Gate in 1987, Ronald Reagan intoned these immortal words: “If you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” We’re glad to report American students are still learning those words. We’re astounded, however, that a sample of the Advanced Placement U.S. History exam casts them in a negative light. In a multiple choice question asking what those words meant in the 1980s, the “correct” answer is “increased assertiveness and bellicosity.” As Lynne Cheney writes, “No notice is taken of the connection the president made between freedom and human flourishing, no attention to the fact that within 2½ years of the speech, people were chipping off pieces of the Berlin Wall as souvenirs. Instead of acknowledging important ideas and historical context, test makers have reduced President Reagan’s most eloquent moment to warmongering.” Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that the educational elite would sympathize with the Soviets over Reagan, but it’s outrageous that American education has so degenerated. More…

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