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The bizarre war against AP U.S. history courses

Roundup
tags: AP, Oklahoma, Advanced Placement, APUSH



Catherine Rampell is an opinion columnist at The Washington Post. She previously worked as a reporter for The New York Times, covering economics and launching the award-winning Economix blog.

It seems strange to organize an educational system around what can’t be taught to children. 

But for large chunks of the country, that is exactly how public educational standards seem to be set: by demarcating and preserving blind spots rather than promoting enlightenment.

It started at least 90 years ago with evolution, when Tennessee banned the teaching of any theory that contradicted the biblical story of the divine creation of man, leading to the infamous Scopes monkey trial. The Supreme Court ultimately struck down such laws, but battles over teaching, or not teaching, evolution in public schools continue to this day. Many parts of the country that have relaxed their objections to teaching evolution have now pivoted to try to ban or sabotage teaching about climate change. Sex ed — at least the kind that actually educates kids about sex, rather than its absence — has come under similar attacks. Now, more recently, states have started trying to ban the teaching of U.S. history.

Yes, U.S. history. Specifically, the bits of our history that might be uncomfortable, unflattering or even shameful — or, as some politicians call it, “unpatriotic.”

This week an Oklahoma legislative committee voted overwhelmingly to effectively ban the teaching of Advanced Placement U.S. history classes. The bill’s author, Rep. Dan Fisher (R), said that state funds shouldn’t be used to teach the course — which students can take to receive college credit — because he believes it emphasizes “what is bad about America” and characterizes the United States as a “nation of oppressors and exploiters.” Fisher’s proposal to replace the ready-made, nationally used, college-recognized AP curriculum — studied by hundreds of thousands of high school students each year — with a homegrown substitute would cost the state an estimated $3.8 million. ...

Read entire article at The Washington Post


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