I've spent this summer so far completely redoing my Advanced Placement classes. When I was at the essay grading we were told that the test will be redone by 2014 and a new test given in 2015. I look forward to the change as it keeps the curriculum fresh. I'm also teaching a couple of new courses this year that will require me to prepare for them. I have to hustle because the first two plus months of school I'm locked into soccer. I coach the women's team at my high school and we've already started conditioning for the summer. The weather has been pretty nice so we've been lucky so far. I still run with the team and most of the time I finish in the top five or so. It certainly cuts down on the whining from the team to have an old man running with them. Overall, it's been a lot of work but it will make my year run a lot smoother.
I'm going to start writing some articles about different periods of history I'm revising in my curriculum. I think it's instructive to view today's politics through the prism of history. Nothing drives me crazier than to hear commentators say that politics have never been more polarized than they are today. That's crap. For example, the 1800 election between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson was volatile to say the least. It is in that election that the Sally Hemmings rumors first surfaced. Try the 1824 and 1828 elections on for size. Both featured Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams. The elections were so personally destructive that in 1828 Rachel Jackson, Andrew's wife, died shortly after the election. Andrew Jackson, for the rest of his life, blamed the personal attacks on his wife for her death. The 1884 election between James Blaine and Grover Cleveland featured rumors of a child born to Cleveland out of wedlock. It was true but what's interesting is how Cleveland handled it.