"Summer of Our Discontent"
David Mamet

Ladies and gentlemen, the future leaders of our country

Courtesy of my wife--now a contributor to Fox News's Fox Forum--comes a list circulating among Advanced Placement U.S. History teachers of actual sentences written by students on this year's exam. The entire list--sorry, I don't have a link, nor the compiler's name--is longer. I forced myself to list no more than ten under each section.

Before reading these gems, you may want to look at the account of one the graders, an associate professor of history at Ohio State Univ. at Mansfield. Key paragraph:

I had always thought of AP as an honors program, so I'm mystified by how many dismal essays we endure. I ask around and get a range of answers. Some say that entire school districts now put all kids into AP classes. Others say that students elect to take AP classes for the extra point it adds to their GPA. Others blame No Child Left Behind. One describes the test as a "cash cow," implying that fee revenues encourage the College Board to allow anyone to take it. High-school teachers, though, emphasize factors that would affect performance, pointing out that the antebellum period was covered six months earlier and that students are stressed from taking multiple AP exams in the same week. Nevertheless, it's clear that Advanced Placement no longer necessarily denotes academic excellence and that many students with very little aptitude take AP courses and tests.

[College Board doesn't like people reproducing their questions, so I won't. If you're curious about the exact wording, they've posted the test here.]

Responses to a question on the Vietnam War.

- Vietnam, the war that exemplified human destruction with high casualties and atomic bombs, is a major highlight of the Cold War.

- Families feared that their loved ones would come home in a box--this means they were dead.

- War is very expensive, especially when the president has a blank check.

- At Kent State, four people were shot by the Federal Reserve.

- Nixon ordered the break-in at the Watergate bank.

- Like the Titanic, America was thought unsinkable--until she hit the evil icebergs of Vietnam.

- Public opinion of Vietnam was decreased by the King Tut offensive.

- Robert F. Kennedy wasn't very popular until he got shot.

- All these wars come from the half-baked idea that we're the world's babysitter.

- Between 1964 and 1975, eleven years passed.

Responses to a question about the relationship between American Indians and European colonists.

- The French lived by the simple creed, "When in Rome, do as the Indians do."

- Can you imagine these Indians being told, "Get out, we don't want you here, but please stop by church on Sunday and get baptized"? What a scene indeed.

- In New England, the Europeans began having intimate relationships with Indian women, causing new breeds to be formed.

- With women rarely coming to Jamestown, the men were too busy looking for girls to be mad at Indians.

- In the early 1600's, Christopher Columbus went on a voyage for the King and Queen of France and found the land of modern-day Canada.

- Bacon's Rebellion was led by Randolph Bacon, who now has a college named for him.

- Before 1776, the U.S. did not have a stable government; in fact, it didn't have a government at all!

- The Quakers were totally cool with the Indians.

Responses to a question about the "market revolution".

- Thomas Edison, the "Wizard of Fenway Park," revolutionized communication by inventing the telegraph.

- Although the gilded age is regarded as the birth of American industry, 1815 to 1860 is when she got pregnant.

- Eli Whitney was able to solve the problem of human seed removal.

- The Confederates used cotton to get King George to support them against the North. That's how he became known as King Cotton.

- Yeoman farmers were forced to work and stimulate themselves.

- Canals were nice, but railroads were freakin' awesome.

Responses to a question about the "New South".

- The South is the skidmark on the underpants of America.

- Poll taxes kept blacks from voting, just like AP classes keep kids from college.

- The south had cotton, tobacco, and other livestock.

- Pleshy v. Segregation made it legal to own slaves.

- Soon, no one will be able to tell the difference between northern states like New Jersey and southern states like Ohio.

Responses to a question about presidential elections between 1928 and 1948.

- In conclusion, the election of Andrew Jackson in 1828 marked the end of oh fuck it says 1928.

- Between 1928 and 1948, the first televised debates occurred. Those who listened on the radio thought Nixon Reagan Truman Johnson had won, when it actuality it was Reagan Kennedy Nixon Johnson who had done better.

- Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Chinese in 1917.

Other responses:

- (at least two dozen times) THIS IS SPARTA!!! [There was a Facebook group that asked kids to write this--a now well-known line from the movie, 300--on the AP tests.]

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