Oklahoma legislators have successfully passed a ban on AP U.S. History courses. The move to ban history has Oklahoma giving Texas a run for their money, who last year began rewriting textbooks. Conservatives in Oklahoma have called the advanced placement courses “unpatriotic,” claiming that the definitely true historical facts taught in the courses encourage negative views of the United States. The bill passed 11-4, with all Republicans in favor and all Democrats opposed. Shocking.
The bill was introduced earlier this month by State Representative Dan Fisher (R). Fisher is an active member of a group called The Black Robe Regiment, which is a “church-and-state” organization that is against the separation of the two. On their website, they describe themselves as,
“…a resource and networking entity where church leaders and laypeople can network and educate themselves as to our biblical responsibility to stand up for our Lord and Savior and to protect the freedoms and liberties granted to a moral people in the divinely inspired US Constitution…The false wall of separation of church and state has been constructed in such a manner that most are unaware of its limited boundaries.? The church and the body of Christ has been attacked on all fronts and challenged by the progressive courts and groups such as the ACLU while we have sat idle in consent.”
Oklahoma Republicans are not the first to “take a stand” against high school history courses. Ever since the College Board released the curriculum for AP U.S. History in 2012, conservatives have been throwing a fit. In an open letter to the College Board, conservative groups American Principles in Action and Concerned Women for America wrote,
“Instead of striving to build a ‘City upon a Hill,’ as generations of students have been taught, the colonists are portrayed as bigots who developed ‘a rigid racial hierarchy’ that was in turn derived from ‘a strong belief in British racial and cultural superiority…The new Framework continues its theme of oppression and conflict by reinterpreting Manifest Destiny from a belief that America had a mission to spread democracy and new technologies across the continent to something that ‘was built on a belief in white racial superiority and a sense of American cultural superiority.'”
The curriculum, however, is in no way, shape, or form anti-American. The College Board has all of the curriculum for AP U.S. history available online, and any literate citizen can go and view the information for themselves. This college-educated historian, and future history teacher, can confirm for you that all of the information included in the curriculum is true, accurate, and unbiased.
It is possible that Oklahoma Republicans are simply ashamed of their own history. That shame, though, should not prevent intelligent, motivated students from learning more about history. The history that, good or bad, has shaped our country.
American history is certainly peppered with some uncomfortable, unfortunate facts. However, the idea that history can be “anti-American” is deeply flawed. Having historical awareness encourages both progress and social and political involvement. By banning advanced placement education in Oklahoma, conservatives are attempting to rewrite history, and are doing a great disservice to future generations.