Oklahoma State Representative Dan Fisher has pushed bill HB 1380 in order to prevent funds from supporting the AP History program at their high schools, due to the course’s “emphasis on instruction is of America as a nation of oppressors and exploiters,” according to Fisher.” This prohibition of a source of education is a barebones matter of censorship, and should not be tolerated.
AP history is a notoriously rigorous course that is offered across the nation, and a recent alteration to its curriculum that aimed mainly to augment flexibility for teachers is the source of outrage. Opponents say the course emphasizes what’s “bad” about America, focusing on darker times in our History rather than founding fathers and establishing documents.
This outrage is misplaced. College Board is the organization that provides AP courses, and is a private company. Since they are not affiliated with the U.S. government, which sets standards only for public education, College Board is allowed to format their curriculum in any manner they’d like
Oklahoma would be better off adjusting their own curriculum, as to teach what they would like prior to exposure to the AP history course. But this suggestion lays bare the core problem: what should students in America learn about their own history?
While it is important to learn about the founding of America, its Constitution, and its government, this is not the source of nationality that Oklahoma should seek to enforce. A sense of nationality is created more from the public’s present understanding of each other, and a desire to create something better.
By focusing on the struggles the United States has gone through, the AP History course allows students to understand more about how different groups in America have felt, which is more important to building national pride than understanding our government.
While trying to promote national pride that existed in the past seems like a beneficial idea, pointing out the flaws in that pride allows our country to learn from those mistakes, and make nationalism reside once again in the present. History repeats itself, but only if you let it.
(Vincent Caruso ’16, Opinions Editor)