Va. high school AP Gov students prompted to affirm racial, socioeconomic, political stereotypes on test

Shelby Kearns. Campus Reform

A 12th grade Advanced Placement (AP) United States Government and Politics class in Fairfax County, Va., recently administered a test asking students to apply demographic stereotypes to liberal and conservative ideologies.

The test is the latest instance of Critical Race Theory (CRT), an ideology created by college professors, having made its way to K-12 classrooms. Under CRT, sweeping generalizations categorize racial groups to uphold claims, including those that divide people into “oppressors” and “oppressed.”

The test question was originally tweeted on Mar. 10 by Purple Strategies partner Rory Cooper.

“Which of the following is an accurate comparison of liberals versus conservatives?” the question asks.

Students were provided the following comparisons as multiple-choice answers:

        A) Young, white males / East Coast, Ivy League educated scientists

        B) Middle-aged, urban, lesbian / Southern male migrant laborer

        C) College-educated black male professional / Cahtolic, midwestern middle-aged male

        D) White, upper-middle class suburban male / West coast, Hispanic teacher

In a statement shared with Campus Reform, the school district conceded that the test question was unacceptable.

“Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) accepts that an AP Government test question, designed to assess 12th graders’ understanding of American political ideology, did not meet the division’s high expectations,” states the district.

“The question, which formed part of an assessment for 12th graders enrolled in the FCPS Online Campus, will be removed from future tests and a review of all AP Government Online Campus test questions will be carried out,” the statement continues.

The College Board–the administrator of tests including AP exams and the SAT–told Campus Reform “that this question did not originate with the AP Program.”

“We did not and would not create a question like that for AP students,” the College Board writes.

“It’s one thing for adults to analyze demographic trends in politics, and it’s another to tell students their identity defines their political philosophy,” Cooper told Campus Reform.

FCPS has received national attention for engaging in an equity agenda that reduces students to their identity. Campus Reform reported in Jan. 2023 that 17 Va. schools withheld National Merit recognition from students, including at the prestigious Thomas Jefferson (TJ) High School, part of FCPS.

TJ parent and journalist Asra Nomani first sounded the alarm in a Dec. 2022 City Journal article. School administrators, Nomani said, deprived top PSAT scorers–many of whom are Asian American–of sharing the recognition during the college admissions process.

She connected the National Merit debacle to a larger “War on Merit” at TJ, a war waged on even the most elite college campuses that have ditched standardized tests such as the SAT or MCAT. Nomani referenced TJ’s “‘equitable grading’ policy” and its decision to end “the school’s merit-based admission test to increase ‘diversity.’”

TJ’s invocation of diversity implies that the school relies on stereotypes about which identities can handle rigorous tests and assignments.

Cooper suggested that he takes issue with the FCPS government exam relying on stereotypes and indoctrinating, not educating, students.

“Schools need to remember their role, and it’s not to be parents,” Cooper told Campus Reform. “Fairfax County students are woefully behind because of the extraordinary school closures and because the system puts more time into trying to mold young progressives rather than teaching them the basics of reading, math and science.”

Campus Reform contacted all relevant parties listed for comment and will update this article accordingly.


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