The Late Movies: Welcome Home, Soldier

For Veterans Days past, we've shown you videos of military servicemembers being welcomed home by their dogs. (See the 2009 and 2011 editions.) Today's videos are also of servicemembers' homecomings (and that of one contractor), but in this round-up, it's not the dogs who are being surprised. You might want to grab some tissues.

1. Luke, I Am Your Father

This servicemember showed up at his son's Star Wars-themed birthday party dressed as Darth Vader. The birthday boy was dressed as Luke Skywalker and his sister as Princess Leia.

2. Captain America

One little boy is surprised to find Captain America at his door; he's even more surprised to discover Captain America is his dad.

3. Biggest Present from Overseas

This boy thought he was opening the most recent--and biggest--package sent from his dad overseas, only to find his actual dad inside.

4. Scavenger Hunt

Mom Kim arranged a scavenger hunt with her husband at the end as a surprise for their 3 sons.

5. Football Game Coin Toss

This soldier surprised her son at his high school football game as the guest coin tosser.

6. Sitting on Santa's Lap

This servicemember's wife was expecting to land on the lap of one of Ellen's hunky Santas during Ellen Degeneres' talk show; she was surprised to find herself sitting on her husband's lap instead.


Asked to spell the word sergeant in a school spelling bee, a girl is shocked when her sergeant dad emerges from behind the stage.

8. Blue and the Indianapolis Colts

Blue, the mascot of the Indianapolis Colts, surprised Ashley Pezan and her daughter with not just a message from their servicemember, but with the man himself.

9. School Assembly

Cpl. Gerardo Benavides was the big prize for his children when they "won" a school Spirit Day game.

10. Movies on Valentine's Day

One servicemember took advantage of his early homecoming to plan a Valentine's Day surprise for his girlfriend. (I particularly like the crowd of moviegoers that gathers to watch the moment.)

11. All I Want For Christmas

Bethany Arnold asked Santa to bring her dad home from Iraq, and Santa delivered.

College Board Wants to Erase Thousands of Years From AP World History, and Teachers Aren't Happy

One would be forgiven for thinking that the Ides of March are upon us, because Julius Caesar is being taken out once again—this time from the Advanced Placement World History exam. The College Board in charge of the AP program is planning to remove the Roman leader, and every other historical figure who lived and died prior to 1450, from high school students’ tests, The New York Times reports.

The nonprofit board recently announced that it would revise the test, beginning in 2019, to make it more manageable for teachers and students alike. The current exam covers over 10,000 years of world history, and according to the board, “no other AP course requires such an expanse of content to be covered over a single school year.”

As an alternative, the board suggested that schools offer two separate year-long courses to cover the entirety of world history, including a Pre-AP World History and Geography class focusing on the Ancient Period (before 600 BCE) up through the Postclassical Period (ending around 1450). However, as Politico points out, a pre-course for which the College Board would charge a fee "isn’t likely to be picked up by cash-strapped public schools," and high school students wouldn't be as inclined to take the pre-AP course since there would be no exam or college credit for it.

Many teachers and historians are pushing back against the proposed changes and asking the board to leave the course untouched. Much of the controversy surrounds the 1450 start date and the fact that no pre-colonial history would be tested.

“They couldn’t have picked a more Eurocentric date,” Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks, who previously helped develop AP History exams and courses, told The New York Times. “If you start in 1450, the first thing you’ll talk about in terms of Africa is the slave trade. The first thing you’ll talk about in terms of the Americas is people dying from smallpox and other things. It’s not a start date that encourages looking at the agency and creativity of people outside Europe.”

A group of teachers who attended an AP open forum in Salt Lake City also protested the changes. One Michigan educator, Tyler George, told Politico, “Students need to understand that there was a beautiful, vast, and engaging world before Europeans ‘discovered’ it.”

The board is now reportedly reconsidering its decision and may push the start date of the course back some several hundred years. Their decision will be announced in July.

[h/t The New York Times]

North America: East or West Coast?


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