Naegel questions CHS history course
Catasauqua Area School Board Vice President Carol Cunningham defended school district Director of Curriculum and Assessment Christina Lutz-Doemling and the teachers and staff who construct and design the curriculum and recommend textbooks at the Aug. 13 board meeting.
During the meeting, board members Christina Naegel and Sally Reiss voted against the Catasauqua High School advanced placement honors-level planned course of study for world history, as well as the AP world history textbook.
The course of study and the textbook was approved by the board by a vote of 4-2.
Cunningham's comments came on the back of Naegel's disagreement with the AP world history course exam and description.
Naegel said her concerns lie with the manner in which the course is put together. She cited what she described as negative references to America and capitalism.
"It just looks looks like it's going through a political side, one side," Naegel said of the course description. "I'm really concerned with how it portrays America."
Lutz-Doemling said the school district consulted with the AP College Board to assist in designing and tailoring the course.
"There are themes and key concepts we take from the planned course of study that will be on the [AP exam]," said Lutz-Doemling.
By criticizing the course exam and description, Cunningham said the board would not be providing the needed support to teachers and administrators who have made the recommendation.
"I also think what is being said here is that we aren't trusting our teachers and administrators with the curriculum," she said. "I think [the administrators and teachers] do a great job."
Cunningham recommended parents and board members meet with teachers individually to discuss their concerns with the curriculum.
"I am supporting the teachers in this school district to deliver the curriculum," emphasized Cunningham.
Lutz-Doemling added the AP world history course was designed to present multiple viewpoints, to encourage discussion and debate and teach students material that will be tested.
"This course is delivering not one opinion, conservative or liberal," she explained. "Not only will they have skills to form substantial arguments, but they'll also be prepared for the AP exam, which is one of the goals of this course."
CHS Principal David Ascani said he finds it difficult to believe the AP College Board and the hundreds of teachers who teach world history courses would not collectively discover issues and problem areas with the course.
"I don't find it hard to believe," responded Naegel.
CHS student representative Selana Contreras said the class discussions she had in her world history course were beneficial in provoking debate and discussion with her fellow students.
"We learned and compared America to cultures around the world," she said.