Saturday, May 10, 2008
AP US HISTORY TEST
My students took the US History test yesterday. The Document Based Question was about the Vietnam War. DBQs are questions that require the students to read documents and incorporate them into an essay using the documents to bolster their thesis. I was interested in the documents that the student were given. While I expected the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution and something about Nixon, I was kind of unprepared for the lyrics of a song from Woodstock by Country Joe and the Fish. While the song was clever, it was not something I would have made available to high school students as it made liberal use of the "F" word. I looked at the packet of information and strangely enough it bypassed the obscentities. Without the "F" word it seemed to be a rather tame song.
The version I provided is the uncut version. I was very disturbed that the AP testers used this obscene song in the test. I am going to protest this. The fact that they edited it is lame. If the song had academic validity play it in its entirety. Instead, the testers felt it necessary to play only a portion of the song so that their agenda was met. Having been a part of this generation I get the implication of this song.
The slant of the question and of the documents provided is crap. Of the nine documents provided, two were not out and out anti-war. From talking to the students it was not hard to determine the effect on the students of these documents. They were adamantly against our effort there. That's good you say. I wish it was that easy. Our aims there were honorable. The media, and their friends in the universities beat the war effort down into a dishonorable undertaking that was limited to the propensity of the US to be an imperialist country. In other words, the Truman Doctrine and the Containment Policy were worthless undertakings that just expanded US influence and chewed up GIs.
I beg to differ. What chewed up GIs was the lack of willpower by the US government to win the war. We won every battle. When it got down to it, the US lost its will, backed out and made us run. We signed a truce in 1973, after we lost 58,000 soldiers. In 1975, the North attacked the South and we abandoned them. THIS WAS NOT A LOST WAR, IT WAS A FORFEITED WAR.