On Monday, Feb. 16, the Common Education Committee looked at House Bill 1380, which is an attempt to examine and possibly revise the guidelines pertaining to AP U.S. History. Backed by Representative Dan Fisher, this bill is specifically an attempt to prevent state funds from being used for the AP U.S. History course.
Though the bill targets AP U.S. History, the decision made could affect all AP courses.
The AP U.S. History has also come under scrutiny in Georgia, Colorado, South Carolina and Texas for teaching “the bits of our history that might be uncomfortable, unflattering or even shameful…as some politicians call it, ‘unpatriotic,’” according to the Washington Post.
The argument here is that AP courses violate Oklahoma’s recent state legislation that repealed Common Core. AP courses might fall under this legislation since AP, similar to Common Core, is a national curriculum that’s being forced on schools.
Advanced Placement is nationally recognized. However, students are not required to take AP courses for graduation. It is merely an option for those who want to take more strenuous classes.
Also, unlike Common Core, public schools are not required to offer AP courses. Some schools do not.
This already tenuous argument gets even stranger when you look at what Rep. Fisher is saying.
According to Fisher, AP U.S. History classes highlight “what is bad about America” and fail to teach students the ideal of “American exceptionalism.”
These statements throw up some serious red flags. So students are learning about America’s mistakes instead of being taught that we are in some way superior to the rest of the world?
Wait a minute. That’s a bad thing? Has Fisher ever heard that history repeats itself unless we learn from it? Plus his comments on American exceptionalism are far too close to the old idea of Manifest Destiny for my comfort.
Whether ethnic or patriotic, no one should be assuming their group is inherently superior to others. And we most certainly should not be teaching our children such ideas.
The bill would require that a list of “foundational documents” be taught to students. While most documents on the list, such as the Constitution, are standard, there are a few interesting choices.
According to ThinkProgress, two sermons and the Ten Commandments are on the list of required documents, as is a speech given by George W. Bush.
The Common Education Committee passed the bill 11–4. All Republicans voted in favor of it, and all Democrats were opposed.
Apologies to all high schoolers who want to get ahead and save tuition by taking AP courses for college credit. If this bill stays on its current trajectory, state funding will no longer be allocated to AP courses, specifically history.
Despite the bill passing with flying colors, Fisher has recently begun backpedaling due to the public’s outrage over banning an AP course.
It is yet uncertain if the bill will continue to move forward. If it does, AP courses might soon be a thing of the past in Oklahoma.