AP US History Ban

Daniel Eckert
Student Writer

courtesy of kconnors via morguefile.com

courtesy of kconnors via morguefile.com

On February 17, Oklahoma House Committee voted in favor of banning AP history level courses from high-schools. Led by Conservatives and Tea Party members, the reasoning for the ban was a concern for public school children who may potentially be exposed to information that was not explicitly “patriotic” and perhaps marginalized Christians. While the vote was opposed by four Democrats, Conservative members were able to rally and subsequently uphold the ban. Citing the nature of AP History classes, the politicians explained that the new classes were “revisionist” and that they made America look bad.

This is perhaps one of the most upsetting developments in 2015. There is a fundamental flaw in this logic, beyond the Tea Party-ers clearly not understanding what the word “revisionist” means. Students and citizens need to know that we as a country have made terrible decisions. We wrongfully imprisoned the Japanese, we slaughtered and back-stabbed our indigenous peoples, we set up puppet regimes, we enslaved races, and we did great harm.

To hide the sins of our fathers and retreat into a mythic past is a disservice to our future. It is only if we know our true history and look it right in the eyes that we can move beyond it and become better because of it. We should not hide our mistakes and retreat into an idealized, revisionist past. We the people are better than that.

If we wish to be better Americans, we should own our mistakes and vow to do better. We have done things we should not be proud of, but we have done things we can be proud of as well. We have cured disease, landed on the moon, left our solar system, discovered new forms of power, and brought animals back from the brink of extinction. How can we keep doing great things if we are not allowed to learn from the things we have done wrong? Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it. Keep AP History in schools. Do not encourage ignorance.

This decision will certainly have consequences on the national stage. Already, many have objected to the Oklahoma decision. Both the Tea Party’s explicit action in banning AP history and the implicit commentary from various conservative news outlets will mar the general opinions of conservative candidates in the upcoming presidential race.

For a party already carrying the stigma of ignorance and scientific doubt, openly limiting students’ ability to pursue education could be a death knell. It will affect any candidate attached to the Oklahoma ban by even the most tenuous connection. This is even more jeopardizing due to the lack of response from the GOP as a body, even in the wake of social media and internet fallout. If the GOP wishes to avoid becoming laden with yet another stereotype, one must wonder where their damage control is.

One Response to “AP US History Ban” Subscribe

  1. Darragh McCurragh March 8, 2015 at 4:29 pm #

    Didn’t know the extent of the current dispute and “dissension”. This reminds me a bit of MP Erdogan in Turkey rolling back the “enlightened” history that crept in Turkish books before he took office. Now he even has made it mandatory to teach that Columbus saw a “mosque” in Cuba when he sailed by (based on some remarks in the log book stating they saw a mountain top the ‘reminded them of a mosque’). well, looks as if all that “history” later has to be undone at college level again.

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