Oklahoma Latest to Grapple with AP US History Controversy

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Advanced Placement US history courses will not be funded by the state after an Oklahoma House committee has found the content of the courses to be not only unpatriotic, but also teaching too much of “what is bad about America.”

The curriculum, which was inaugurated in 2012, has sparked controversy since its inception, but now, in Oklahoma, the new framework has resulted in the bipartisan committee to renege on state funding for the course. The New York Daily News’ Melissa Chan reports that last year, a Republican National Committee called on the College Board, which oversees the AP test,  to revise the so-called anti-American course. Opponents of the test say that too much emphasis is put on slavery and the treatment of Native Americans while twisting the US role in World War II as well.

“We don’t want our tax dollars going to a test that undermines our history,” Oklahoma State Rep. Dan Fisher, who penned the measure, said during the hearing.

Now the bill will go to the state House to be approved, while the College Board has released a statement saying the debate has been filled with incorrect information and, in fact, does include “many inspiring examples of American exceptionalism.”

“Because this is a college-level course, students must also examine how Americans have addressed challenging situations like slavery,” said Trevor Packer, a senior vice president at the College Board.

He continues that the AP Program and thousands of colleges and universities nationwide where credit for AP courses is given are not willing to censor such topics, the teaching of which can inspire students with confidence in the United States’ focus on life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Oklahoma officials, writes Rebecca Klein of The Huffington Post, will write their own version of this course if the College Board does not change the framework. But David Burton, the social studies department chairman at Southmoore High School in Moore, Oklahoma, believes the new framework is designed to teach historical themes and trends, not specific events and figures, which allows teachers to cover the concepts in American History as “a broad outline.”

“I actually think [the new framework] helps to elevate the positive things about American history,” Burton said. “I do not in any way feel limited by it in teaching the wonderful story that is the United States.”

There are Oklahomans who support the AP class, many of whom have signed a petition asking lawmakers not to ban the course. The petition had over 8,200 signatures as of Wednesday of last week and was started by Moin Nadeem, a student at Jenks High School, Jenks, Okla.  M. Delatorre, in a report for KJRH-TV, explains that Nadeem is taking five advanced placement courses, including US History, and, upon reading State House Bill 13-80, felt compelled to so something about it.

“If you were to go out of state for college, everyone that is applying is going to have resumes that are full of AP classes, and you aren’t going to have any. That is not going to hold its own merit in comparison.”

In September, the Republican-dominated Texas Board of Education requested that the College Board rewrite the AP course. Meanwhile, in another state, a large number of students in Colorado walked out of class in protest of the conservative school board’s proposed changes to the US history course, according to Heeide Brandes and Jon Herskovitz of Reuters.