Should an AP World History course be offered at school?

Aaron Gindi, Staff Writer

As our world grows ever smaller due to breakthroughs in communications and transportation, it becomes increasingly important to have a firm understanding of global relations and history.  Schreiber’s history curriculum is thorough, but it’s missing one thing: AP World History.

In their freshman year, all Schreiber students take Global I, and at the end of the sophomore year, everyone is required to take the Global History and Geography Regents.  For most students, this is the end of their Global History education.  Other high schools have integrated another option, AP World History, into their curricula.

AP World history is both broad and specific in terms of its material.  Spanning some 10,000 years of human history, it leaves few stones unturned, yet it also provides the level of depth one would expect from an AP course.  This tremendous amount of material is divided into six historical periods, each of which receives a similar level of emphasis.  The course also has underlying themes running throughout such as state building, cultural development, social and economic transformation, and interactions between humans and the environment.  An understanding of these major principles is indispensable for a well-informed future citizen.

Currently, Schreiber offers two out of the possible three AP History classes: AP United States History and AP European History.  These courses both cover important aspects of history, including the history of our own country and that of western society as a whole; however, they lack the global perspective that AP World History offers.

AP United States History and AP European History could potentially leave students with an exclusively western worldview, which is quickly becoming outdated as a result of globalization.  The result is that sophomore, junior, and senior years of high school lack truly global reach.  AP World could provide this perspective and complement the current curriculum.

Naturally, there are a number of road blocks hindering the implementation of AP World as a class.  The most significant of these are the obvious suspects: money and time.

“We as a department are always interested in offering new courses when it is possible,” said Social Studies Department Head Mr. Lawrence Schultz. “Unfortunately, we often encounter budgetary and staffing issues that can make such decisions difficult.”

Resource distribution is indeed a frequent issue in American public schools, and Schreiber does an excellent job of fulfilling student desires.  Therein lies the second problem – a lack of student desire.  This can potentially stem from an ignorance of the class’ existence, apathy, or a genuine desire not to take the class.  In spite of these factors, offering AP World History can help Schreiber make its curriculum even more well-rounded.

In the meantime, Schreiber does have a class for seniors who would like to nurture a global perspective: AP Comparative Government.  In this class, they compare and contrast the government structures of Great Britain, Mexico, Russia, Iran, China, and Nigeria.

Perhaps the reason that Schreiber does not offer AP World History is primarily because there is already a viable alternative.  Some would even argue that AP Comparative Government is more valuable than AP World History.

“AP Comparative Government allows me to learn about real, modern issues that are relevant to me and to the world,” said senior David Chain.

Today, the world is at our fingertips.  Places that once seemed as distant as other planets are now almost instantly accessible, by both airplane and Google.  We can FaceTime a relative in Cairo, email an associate in Brussels, or call a friend in Bangkok.  These tools can, in the wrong hands, divide us as easily as they can connect.  Understanding other cultures is the foremost obstacle to overcoming and preventing this divisiveness.  Though certainly not the only way to achieve this end, integrating AP World History into our curriculum is the most direct.