Oklahoma Legislator Introduces Bill To Ban Advanced Placement History Classes

Fisher-Danx175Oklahoma State Rep. Dan Fisher presumably has an array of tough issues to tackle for his state from unemployment to the environment to crime. However, Fisher has decided to take on the ignoble task of banning Advanced Placement history classes in the state because he objects to the inclusion of negative aspects of American history and the omission of material embracing “American exceptionalism.” As an academic, I have previously criticized politicians (here and here and here and here) intervening in our school system to impose their own values or priorities on educators. This however ranks as one of the worst such intrusions that we have seen.

Oklahoma has been one of the states rejecting the Common Core curriculum for K-12 programs. There are valid arguments for states in insisting on control of such curricula as a general matter even if one disagrees with the merits of objections to the common core. However, this is beyond the pale. AP classes are a mainstay of our educational system and allow students to get truly advanced studies in given subjects. I have argued for years that we need to ramp up such courses on civics and history. It is therefore particularly distressing to read Fisher’s bill. It is not only would deprive these students of advanced courses but it would place Oklahoma students at a serious disadvantage in college applications which put great weight on such courses.

Fisher’s primary objection is that the AP history courses, in his view, emphasize the wrongs about America. However, these courses allow students to study not just the triumphs but the mistakes of history so history does not repeat itself. We are not a great nation because we did not commit errors and even crimes in our past. We are a great nation because we overcome such history, recognized our failings, and become a better nation despite such failings. The Trail of Tears, Alien and Sedition Acts, Japanese internment camps, Red Scare and other dark chapters reveal both our succumbing to fears and our transcending them. Part of AP curricula is to train students to read history in a critical and objective way. Converting our history into some Disney tale will teach students little about our country or themselves.

The “exceptionalism” of this country is precisely that we are not perfect but strive to be better.

307 thoughts on “Oklahoma Legislator Introduces Bill To Ban Advanced Placement History Classes”

  1. What!! This guy don’t want the students to know that a lot of dirty-money and crimminal activity (i.e. slave labor, drugs, alcohol and all around thugery helped too build this country.

    1. My Father was a Democrat and I hated him for hiding the bad things from me. That is what he did. Disneyland is what I was presented and it was all lies.

  2. I hereby, by the powers vested in me (…e.g., none) dub this thread the Godwin’s Law Thread. 🙂

  3. @ davidm2575

    my apologies for missing your post the other day, but your issues are weak. That for the majority, new masters replaced old masters is common to most revolutions? Or that the constitution allowed people to be owned as property? And those owning slaves included our founding fathers? Our history isn’t pretty. Hiding truths from our young is no way to encourage critical thinking.

    As for your whole inequality, communism/socialism miss, the US is already one of the most unequal economic countries in the world. How much more inequality will make you happy?

    1. Bill W wrote: “Hiding truths from our young is no way to encourage critical thinking.”

      I have NEVER argued to hide any truths, and the sad thing is that I think you know this. You are like Don Quixote swinging at windmills.

      Bill W wrote: “How much more inequality will make you happy?”

      It is not about inequality making me happy. It is about acknowledging inequality as a GOOD THING. Diversity is good. It means that someone else is better at something and stronger than me at something, so I can admire that person and be glad that such a person is part of my life. It means that others might admire my strengths and be glad that I am around.

      The equality arguments of Democrats are bad because they make people look with envy at those who have more than they have. It also makes people ashamed to be successful and earn more money than their neighbor. Instead of teaching the duty and obligation of the strong to bear the infirmities of the weak, it teaches the weak to use the power of government to steal from the rich and give to the poor.

  4. According to this idiocy, the Founders promoted public education to teach that slavery, revolutionary war, religion, profits, marriage, anti-abortion law, etc. were bad.

    You can’t have it both ways. Either taxpayer-funded public school PROMOTES America in definitively positive light or education must be private industry.

    You believe that America, alone in the world; the universe, shall engage in societal suicide through its educational apparatus.

    Decentralization and complete localization of education MUST be implemented.

    Anyone who listens to you is a consummate fool for whom education will be of no use.

    P.S. Next you’ll tell us that Barry Soetoro loves America so much that he changed his name, torn down his Muslim statue in Indonesia to hide the fact that he is the son of a foreign-citizen Muslim (not a “natural born citizen – ineligible) and he is “overreaching” his authority to accelerate negative, massive and ongoing illegal “immigration” as a program of “DILUTIONISM” to “fundamentally transform” Americans out of America (as if America isn’t overpopulated – can you say drought?). One does not “fundamentally transform” something one loves.

  5. “But I don’t agree with either one of you Paul C Schulte and Olly”


    What in the world did I state that you wouldn’t agree with? My post quoted your question and then I asked you a question. So is it you don’t agree with me in general, that you don’t agree with me reposting your question or that you disagree with me asking you a question? If it’s the latter then you will really not like this post either. Here is the question again:

    Can you have socialism, treat everyone equally under the law and not infringe the natural rights of the citizens?

    1. Olly

      We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness


      a synonym for this word with which I felt very comfortable was Universal. Mostly because when I looked up and ran through all of the Age of Enlightenment Philosophers I felt they were too much in the realm of cause and effect still.so I will go with Universal.

      Now – I am not falling into a pit here I don’t think. You will have to argue with me and let me know. lol. No one should be able to take rhe rights away from you the Creator endowed upon you, but you see, I don’t think the Creator endowed upon you the right to discriminate against others and be an a@@hole in general in the name of some so called religious belief. No more than these schools that say you can’t wear a cross. That is also very wrong and should not be allowed and fought for the right to do so.

      These kinds of things never end.

  6. When I said FDR didn’t want the communists to gain power I was referring to here in the states. Apologies that I wasn’t clearer on that. In the mid 1930’s I don’t think a US president could do much to effect the power structure in the soviet union.
    “The Captains of Industry” and some US bankers were more than happy to do business with Germany.

    1. Pete

      Now that you have helped me sort this out in my emotional disorganized mind – how and why do they do it. I should say I know why but How can they be like Pilate I guess? And wash their hands of it?

      1. happypappies wrote: “how and why do they do it. I should say I know why but How can they be like Pilate I guess? ”

        You are looking at it with hindsight. Who knew the holocaust would happen before it happened? At the time, Auschwitz had no more a negative connotation than saying Leavenworth. There is nothing inherently wrong with providing products and services, unless you know there are nefarious purposes that you are assisting.

        Keep in mind also Hitler’s big vision for Volkswagen, the People’s Car. His involvement beginning in 1933 was inspired by Henry Ford. He wanted Germans to have access to cars the same way the Americans did through Henry Ford’s efforts. There is nothing inherently wrong with these kinds of commercial efforts, or with Americans helping Germans bring this vision about. It is only because of your knowledge of what happened later that you view all this collaboration in a negative light.

        You also have to keep in mind that Henry Ford was a raving anti-Semite. Ford had bought the Dearborn Independent newspaper around 1918 and a year and a half later he began to write anti-Jewish articles that spanned a period of two years. Hitler and his associates read these articles. Hitler was greatly inspired by Ford. He admired Ford and held him to be a great hero. Hitler had a picture of Henry Ford hanging on his wall in his Munich office. Much of Hitler’s anti-Semitism was the result of Henry Ford’s writings. Henry Ford is the only American mentioned in Mein Kampf. In Mein Kampf, Hitler criticized the Stock Exchange as being governed by Jews, but points out Henry Ford as the only man that maintained full independence. By 1938, the Germans came to Dearborn Michigan and pinned a medal on Henry Ford, the highest medal they had for a foreigner, the Grand Cross of the German Eagle. That same year, Hitler was featured as man of the year by Time Magazine. Remember that at that time, WWII had not started yet. Germany would not invade Poland until September 1939. We would not enter the war until December 7, 1941. So in 1938 when all this was going on, who could predict the atrocities that would happen? There were some people who saw it coming, but nobody paid them much attention. The same thing happens today. Some people see where we are headed, but few seriously listen to them.

        1. Davidm2575

          happypappies wrote: “how and why do they do it. I should say I know why but How can they be like Pilate I guess? ”

          You are looking at it with hindsight. Who knew the holocaust would happen before it happened? At the time, Auschwitz had no more a negative connotation than saying Leavenworth. There is nothing inherently wrong with providing products and services, unless you know there are nefarious purposes that you are assisting.

          You are right. I was not seeing the whole picture here. Some things I am not still clear on and the only way I know to clear them up is to bring them up.

          Thank you

  7. That’s not what you said. That’s why I said what I said. He also let the Captains of Industry sell to Auschwitz where the Jews were gassed as I outlined above and Henry Ford got away with it

  8. He didn’t want the communists to pick up support here. With Uncle Joe he just held his nose and helped anybody but hitler. Sent Joe a lot of lend lease equipment, some of the equipment wasn’t that great or wasn’t well suited to the terrain or the climate, some they really liked.

    1. pete – the Soviets used our Lend Lease butter to coat (water-proof) their boots. Back in the 1980s the History Book Club published the Soviet high school version of WWII. We were NOT in it.

    1. Well, then, that makes him a Fascist Supporter for sure since he didn’t want Uncle Joe to have too much support, right?

Comments are closed.