An Oklahoma House committee voted along party lines Monday to pull state funding for Advanced Placement U.S. History courses, claiming the courses violated a law that gives the state total authority over curricula and testing. Republican state Rep. Dan Fisher, who introduced the bill, believes the current course places “a new emphasis on what is bad about America” instead of highlighting “America’s founding principles of Constitutional government.”
“This is an entirely manufactured controversy,” wrote Michael Hiltzik at the Los Angeles Times, beginning with retired New Jersey history teacher Larry Krieger and boosted by a Republican National Committee campaign last year that condemned the course as “radically revisionist.” Not only is Fisher’s bill stupid, Hiltzik contended, but dangerous. “Politicians who insist on inculcating such narrow-mindedness into their educational system are damaging their own students,” he wrote.
Steven Thrasher, writing for the Guardian’s Comment is Free, acknowledged that Oklahoma’s history isn’t the prettiest, which is precisely why it should be taught:
Nationally, if history teachers were to banish everything “bad” about America from our classrooms (i.e., the three-fifths compromise, Jim Crow, the lack of women’s suffrage for a century and a half, the genocide of Native Americans, the annexation of Mexico through war, the sexual assault of one in three women in her lifetime, the apartheid of imprisoned African-Americans, Ronald Reagan, the internment of Japanese Americans, McDonald’s, the colonization of Puerto Rico, the Chinese Exclusion Act, exporting chemical warfare, Three Mile Island, Applebee’s (without drones), TGIF’s (with drones), killing kids with drones, selling drones to foreign countries, and Ryan Seacrest, to name just a few national disasters), and to instead only teach about what was truly exceptional about America, what would be left to give lessons on?
Thrasher argued that eliminating the “bad” from American history is “outright un-American” and simply a Republican voting ploy.
Paul Constant at The Stranger agreed that killing AP U.S. History funding is a right as rain strategy for grabbing GOP votes. “[I]f you want to keep voters dumb and scared, this policy is a great way to do that,” he wrote.
Doktor Zoom at Wonkette joked that upon passing the bill, the state’s Education Committee “took up a bill to declare the Earth flat, to require teachers registered as Democrats to sign a loyalty oath, and to remove references to any U.S. presidents after Reagan from all history books used in public schools.”
Source: US News & World Reports