Book Giveaway: Anything for a Vote

We have a copy of Joseph Cummins' new book to give away. Anything for a Vote: Dirty Tricks, Cheap Shots, and October Surprises in U.S. Presidential Campaigns. Sounds fun. Here are a few excerpts:

1836: Congressman Davy Crockett accuses candidate Martin Van Buren of secretly wearing women's clothing: "He is laced up in corsets!"

1912: Theodore Roosevelt is shot in the chest while preparing to give a campaign speech, then proceeds to deliver it anyway: "I don t know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot, but it takes more than that to kill a bull moose!"

1960: President Harry Truman advises voters that "if you vote for Richard Nixon, you might go to hell!"

When my friend Derek Lo was in high school, he ran a successful campaign for class president under the killer slogan "Aim High. Vote Lo." It's a shame he gave up politics for a career as an advertising executive "“ a field where having a personal slogan is considered very strange.

I'm mentioning DLo because a good slogan is your ticket to winning this book (plus we'll throw in a free mental_floss t-shirt.) If you were running for office, what would you put on your bumper stickers? The person whose slogan gets our vote wins the book.

See also: Six Memorable Moments from Presidential"“and VP"“Debates

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

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North America: East or West Coast?
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