College Board: our newest political institution

Why erasing history doesn’t actually make it go away

Sadie Clark, News Editor

I’ve taken many an AP in my day. I’ve paid for SATs, score reports and tutoring services. I’ve invested hundreds of hours into studying and taking their little tests. I’ve fully subscribed since the moment it was made available to me.
So as their biggest, least critical, most naïve groupie, I was genuinely surprised by the latest move the College Board has attempted to quietly make. On this year’s AP U.S. Government and Politics exam, we can expect zero questions on Roe v. Wade (1973).
Allow me to recap Roe, the most defining Supreme Court case of the feminist movement. Jane Roe (a pseudonym to protect her identity) sued Henry Wade, district attorney of Dallas County, Texas, challenging the illegality of abortion. Roe won based on her constitutional right to privacy, defended by the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and 14th Amendments.
The Roe decision was revolutionary, iconic and a symbol of hope. Not only was it major step towards equality, but it also brought to light the resounding support for abortion rights. Roe won 7-2 on a court of nine men.
Since that wonderful year for women (albeit of the white, upper/middle class variety), our progressively polarized government has slowly, almost imperceptibly turned their backs on women.
This came to a head with Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (2022). Just this past June, the Supreme Court overturned Roe using Dobbs. It was heartbreaking for women around the country, and it was terrifying for those who lived in anti-choice states. States immediately moved to make laws either in favor of or against abortion rights. For many of my peers, the Dobbs decision geographically narrowed their college lists to places where they knew their rights would be defended.
In September, I learned that Roe v. Wade will no longer be in the required materials for the AP U.S. Government and Politics exam. Because it was a precedent-setting case, meaning it set guidelines for courts of all levels, it was previously valued heavily on the exam. This year, the College Board has responded to the confusion and controversy around Roe by simply sticking its head into the sand.
This is the beginning of the erasure of Roe and of abortion rights in America. What was previously held as one of the 15 foundational Supreme Court cases in American Government is no longer required material.
The College Board (ironically) a non-profit. This is a massive joke. The college board has a net worth of over a billion dollars. They make a point to force fees upon students at every turn; an SAT costs $55, an AP test costs $107 at Ballard High School and it costs $12 to send SAT scores and $15 to send AP scores (per college). In 2019, CEO David Coleman made 1.67 million dollars. There’s some serious money circulating within the corporation, all under the guise of altruistic, educational do-gooding.
The College Board has monopolized the fate of young people across the country, placing their metrics (standardized tests and AP courses) above all else on a student’s application. It’s THE system set up to profit off of our future. What they choose affects the education and lives of millions.
So, yet again, capitalism has reared its ugly head against human rights, this time in what we teach our youth. Yet again, corporations are left to dictate the rules of our society. And yet again, I will learn to be wary of the systems we unconsciously give our trust.