Legislative attack on education


I will say what appears to be in the minds of some Oklahoma lawmakers — “screw fair education that teaches students to criticize, advocate and learn. Give them propagandized patriotism!”

This past week, an Oklahoma legislative committee approved a bill that would cut funding for the College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP) United States History course. This course, taught in high schools, details the beginning and the rise of the U.S. to what it is today.

What do we get in the 21stcentury? We get groups of lawmakers who cannot even be impartial about the history of the country they work for.

In a hearing on Monday, Rep. Dan Fisher, who introduced the bill, attacked the College Board for emphasizing, “what is bad about America” in the new exam framework, set forth by the College Board.

Fisher is not alone. Not only does the bill have an embarrassing amount of approval in the state of Oklahoma, but also in several other conservative legislatures. Texas, North Carolina and Colorado have also shared their dislike for the College Board’s new ideas.

Fisher said one of his gripes with the new course framework is that it does not teach “American exceptionalism.”

Fisher believes whole-heartedly, that the U.S. is unusual and extraordinary in some ways and, thus, it is not necessary for the U.S. to conform to normal rules or general principles.

Fisher believes the U.S. is the best and that we should not hold ourselves to the unnecessary standards that the rest of society holds themselves to, because we are American.

Newsflash lawmakers — America is not even in the top 20 most educated nations anymore. Maybe now is not the best time to try and cut funding that could help our future generations get jobs and become part of the global economy. The Program for International Student Assessment, which collects data from 65 countries, found that American students did not achieve an average score in any of the categories tested.

I am sure Fisher and the other lawmakers in Oklahoma can fix that through some old fashion propaganda. Larry S. Krieger, a former history teacher who started this nonsense by tugging on the leashes of lawmakers, complained about aspects of the course to legislators at a conference in August.

Krieger noted that the new framework gave a “negative view of American history.” Krieger believes that racism and bigotry were not key factors in the rise of the U.S.

Instead, Krieger opts to proclaim Manifest Destiny was “the belief that America had a mission to spread democracy and new technology across the continent.”

Shocking that a high school history teacher would forget how settlers savagely murdered roughly 80 percent of the Native American population in North America to gain control of the continent.

Krieger even took offense to the framework raising moral questions in reference to the dropping of atomic bombs in World War II. Any history buff, teacher or professor should at least agree that such things deserved to be talked about and not simply shrugged of as “the valor or heroism of American soldiers,” as Krieger put it.

Lawmakers have even gone so far as to say that the College Board’s AP courses are an attempt to impose national curriculum. This is simply not the case. Anyone who does five minutes of research on AP classes knows that these are classes students elect to take, not classes that are forced upon them by schools or “national curriculum.”

I took AP U.S. history when I was a junior in high school and know of others who took the class at other high schools. I can assure state legislatures that there is absolutely no threat of a national curriculum.

The U.S. may have subpar education rankings, but some of us still want to learn and it is my wish that state legislators would realize this and stop cutting budgets.

Teachers want to teach, students want to learn. All we need is opportunity.


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