Growing up, I never really enjoyed history class…after all, it’s yesterday’s news!
Nonetheless, I was significantly disturbed when I learned that students were protesting changes being made to their history curriculum—changes that would remove their option to take AP (Advanced Placement) history classes!
I was scrolling through my Facebook news-feed, when I came across a meme that read:
Happening now: Students protest as Oklahoma republicans unanimously vote to ban AP US history because it only teaches students “what is bad about America” and promotes the separation of church and state.
Intrigued, I clicked on the link to “read more.”
Apparently, “emergency legislation” has been introduced, which prohibits the expenditure of funds on Advanced Placement United States History courses.
Oklahoma Representative, Dan Fisher (R), is the man behind this legislation. Fisher claims that the Advanced Placement history classes fail to teach “American exceptionalism.” The thing is, Fisher belongs to a religious organization which believes that: “the church and God himself has been under assault, marginalized, and diminished by the progressives and secularist.”
Fisher and his organization adamantly disagree with the enactment of Separation of Church and State.
But wait, there’s more!
Another Oklahoma representative, Sally Kern (R), is saying, “AP courses are similar to Common Core, in that they could be construed as an attempt to impose a national curriculum on American schools.”
Of course, Advanced Placement courses are actually developed by a private group, the College Board, and furthermore, AP classes are not required of any student or high school. Taking the advanced classes is simply a way that students can earn college credits in high school. It is a way of taking steps to advance one’s education!
So, essentially these republican representatives are lobbying to deny students a way to learn more about U.S. history and prepare themselves to succeed in college!
Oklahoma isn’t the only state where this madness is happening! Last October in the state of Colorado, conservative school board members attempted to make their Advanced Placement U.S. History courses “more patriotic.”
Now, I am all for having pride in one’s country, and I feel blessed to live in a country which offers so many freedoms. However, to deny that the U.S. has made mistakes along the way is ridiculous!
The fact is that slavery happened, and it was wrong. The fact is, the U.S. government put Japanese-Americans into internment camps during World War II and that was wrong.
Omitting these facts from our country’s history doesn’t make us more patriotic. It makes us cowardly liars, refusing to own up to our mistakes. And ultimately, if we don’t learn our nation’s true history, then how can we ever learn from those mistakes?
Well, Colorado students responded to these attempts by banding together and scheduling walk-outs in protest. The walk-outs prompted shutdowns at four schools in a county near Denver.
Personally, I find it appalling that students even need to take action in this way!
If kids want to learn more about history, they should be allowed to! They should be able to learn the history of their country, without having to fight against political or religious propaganda.
Students should be able to learn and set themselves up for a successful future in college, should they choose to. They should not have to spend their time and energy protesting their right to an unfettered education.
Kudos to all those students who give damn, and who want to learn and further their education! They give me hope for the future of this country.
Author: Yoli Ramazzina
Editor: Travis May