Earlier this year, Oklahoma made news by deciding to stop the funding of the AP United States history course by a vote of 11-4. The UC Irvine school newspaper claims that, they felt that the course spent too much time on the “plights of the marginalized groups ” and not enough on the “valiance and innovation of white men. They also disliked the fact that the course analyzes the shortcomings of some presidents” In its place, the class will be based on “fundamental documents” such as the Ten Commandments.
As a student who takes the APUSH course, this claim is ridiculous. Although we may not like to admit it, the injustices such as woman’s suffrage and slavery are key components in learning about the history of the country. They cannot simply be left out of the curriculum. Many Oklahoman students felt the same way, staging walkouts in protest of the ban. However, educators failed to listen to these students and as the UC Irvine newspaper tells it, “their complaints fell upon deaf ears”. Edmund Burke, who served in the House of Commons in Great Britain, said, “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.
” Arguably the worst genocide in history, the Holocaust is covered in German schools. I believe we need to learn about our mistakes in order to avoid repeating them. This is not to say that by cutting slavery out of our textbooks, we will reinstitute this institution. As a country, we are past the days of slavery and civil rights issues. However, the mistakes that have been made by past presidents and governments need to be recognized.
In addition, basing the course on a religious document, like the Ten Commandments is equally as ridiculous. For starters, the Ten Commandments are not in any way shape or form a part of American History. They were written on stone tablets by Moses thousands of years before America was even founded. However, in Oklahoma, the sole purpose is not only to defund the APUSH course, but to ultimately do away with all of the AP courses. They based their opinion on the fact that they believed the course represented the Common Core standards too closely.
It is understandable to want to promote patriotism, but at some point a line needs to drawn in the sand. This is in fact a college course, but with these changes it more closely represents a fourth grade history class. It is incredibly naive and asinine to only focus on the positive parts of history, while cutting out the negatives. The AP class is designed to prepare students for the real world and unfortunately, in the outside world, not everything is sugarcoated to satisfy the desires of angry parents and educators