The Early Favorites in '07

I can't tell you who's going to win this year's World Series. But next season, Texas Rangers fans should feel good about their chances, despite this year's pedestrian 80-82 record. You see, the Rangers just fired manager Buck Showalter. And when Buck leaves, he's often replaced by wild success.

+Buck was succeeded by Joe Torre as manager of the Yankees in 1996. Unimpressed with the choice, the New York Post ran the headline "Clueless Joe." To spite the Post, Torre and the Yanks went on to win the 1996 World Series, their first since 1978, and three more in the next four seasons.

+Showalter went on to manage the Arizona Diamondbacks from 1998-2000, turning a 65 win team his first season into a 100-game winner in 1999. The D-Backs slipped to 85-77 in 2000, and the Buck stopped there. First-year manager Bob Brenly took the 2001 Diamondbacks to the World Series, where they beat the Yankees in seven games.

+From 2001 to 2003, Showalter was a popular studio analyst for ESPN's Baseball Tonight. He left in 2003 to manage the Texas Rangers. Baseball Tonight won a Sports Emmy that year.

+At The Borgata in Atlantic City in 2005, Showalter walked away from a slot machine he'd been working for a good half-hour. I stepped in just as he left, pulled the lever and won $10,000. OK, this one didn't happen. But you get the point. Keep your heads up, Rangers fans.

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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