AP Human Geography & AP World History Materials Review 2020–21

Physical copies can be found in the following locations through June 4, 2021:

  • Front office of the Admin Building: 204 W. South St., Leander

Electronic access information is listed below.

Text: Human Geography: A Spatial Perspective, Bednarz

  • Publisher: National Geographic/Cengage
  • Access Instructions: Trial NGLSync Portal
    • Username: student01@aphgleander.com
    • Password: password

Text: Traditions and Encounters, Bentley

Responses to Community Concerns about the Textbook Adoption

At the June 10, 2021, Board of Trustees meeting, the Board asked the administration to research and bring more information about community concerns regarding the content in the proposed textbook. Please review the following items to read responses to these specific issues.

Pearl Harbor

Statement that Pearl Harbor was only referred to as a conflict.

  • Pearl Harbor is mentioned 15 times in Traditions and Encounters
  • P. 172 (online version) it is referred to as a bombing
  • P. 174 (online version) it is referred to as a Japanese attack 3 times

Fidel Castro

Statement about Fidel Castro not being described as a revolutionary

  • Fidel Castro is mentioned 4 times in Traditions and Encounters. 1 time in Ch. 35 and 3 times in Ch. 26.
  • P. 169 (online version) states “Universities thereafter became training grounds for future political leaders, including Fidel Castro, and the ideas explored within an academic setting – from Marxism to anti-imperialism – exerted great influence on those budding politicians.” 
  • P. 176 (online version) describes Castro as the head of a revolutionary movement to overthrow Fulgencio Batista y Zaldivar and explains his alignment with the USSR and his public announcement that he is a Marxist and Leninist. 

America/United States

Statement that America or the United States is not mentioned in the text once. 

AP World History

  • In AP World History: Modern, students investigate significant events, individuals, developments, and processes from 1200 to the present. Students develop and use the same skills, practices, and methods employed by historians: analyzing primary and secondary sources; developing historical arguments; making historical connections; and utilizing reasoning about comparison, causation, and continuity and change over time. The course provides six themes that students explore throughout the course in order to make connections among historical developments in different times and places: humans and the environment, cultural developments and interactions, governance, economic systems, social interactions and organization, and technology and innovation. This is a World History and not U.S. History-centered course. 
  • We are required by Texas law to include the TEKS which includes history beginning around 5000 BCE to Present Day. The summer assignment and part of the first unit address the TEKS that are not currently covered in the AP course structure. 
  • The word “America” is found 1,289 times in the text in various forms referring to North America and the United States as well as other references. 
  • The words “United States” are found 429 times in the text. 

AP Human Geography

  • This course introduces students to the systematic study of patterns and processes that have shaped human understanding, use, and alteration of Earth’s surface. Students employ spatial concepts and landscape analysis to examine socioeconomic organization and its environmental consequences. They also learn about the methods and tools geographers use in their research and applications. The curriculum reflects the goals of the National Geography Standards (2012).
  • The concepts are generally taught using a regional or even localized city approach. While America or the United States may not be mentioned specifically, there are various mentions and examples of U.S. cities, states, and regions. This is not a United States focused course.

Scientific Racism

Statement that Scientific Racism is not a real term

  • The term is defined on p. 148 (online version Traditions and Encounters) as an academic term connected to social Darwinism and eugenics. Both of these scientific theories reference race as a deciding factor in human potential.

HB 3979

Statement of concern that this text violates HB 3979

  • HB 3979 states that students are to have an understanding of (h-2 Section 1 (7)) “the history of white supremacy, including but not limited to the institution of slavery, the eugenics movement, and the Ku Klux Klan, and the ways in which it is morally wrong.” 

This addresses the content that may be included and while it may be uncomfortable to learn and read about it is in no way teaching someone to feel guilt. 

  • HB 3979 also states that (h-3 Section 4 B (vii) a course cannot include the concept that “an individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of the individual’s race or sex.” 

The content in question does not teach the concept in h-3 Section 4 B (vii). The challenged material in the text instead teaches that white European males dominated the culture and government in the 19th century as facts, but does not teach a concept that someone should feel discomfort, guilt or anguish about one’s race or sex.

Contact Information

Kip Harmon
Secondary Social Studies Coordinator
kip.harmon@leanderisd.org

AP Social Studies Text Selection Timeline

November 2020 – Collected text selection choices from teachers of AP Human Geography and AP World History

December 2020 – Ordered physical textbook samples and electronic codes from publishers chosen by teachers

January 2021 – Delivered physical samples and sent electronic access codes to all AP Human Geography and AP World History teachers

February 2021 – Planned for all chosen publishers to provide up to one hour Zoom sessions on Friday, Feb. 12. Provided teachers with scoring rubrics for use as they reviewed the texts. Most of the presentations had to be postponed until March due to the ice storm. Plan was to have teachers provide two top choices by early March so we could begin collecting public feedback during March 2021. Provided the recorded sessions from Feb. 12 to teachers.

March 2021 – Rescheduled several presentations over this month during Wednesday early release days and recorded those for teachers unable to attend. Continued prompting teachers to provide feedback and reviewing texts.

April 2021 – Tallied results from teacher input and put top two out for community input from April 12–May 5. After the initial board presentation in May there was a request to make the books available again. That was provided from May 24–June 4 with online access to the two books brought for approval and physical copies on display at the Admin office. The two books were checked out by one member of the public June 7–10. 

  • April 12 – SCR publicized the opportunity for public review and feedback on the district website and social media channels
  • April 16 – A memo was sent informing the board members that the instructional materials were available for public review

May 2021 – Collected final teacher input from campuses and community input. Provided final text selection to TIMA committee and to Board. 

(Note: Timeline would have been completed approximately one month prior had there not been a setback due to the ice storm.)