Oklahoma educators quash attempt to ban AP U.S. history


by Jasmine Song, reprinted from NEA Today, photo by Patrick Vine

The attempt by right-wing legislators in Oklahoma to ban the teaching of Advanced Placement (AP) U.S. History courses looked like it might have been successful. That was before educators, parents and students stood up and spoke out against the proposal.

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In mid-February, the committee on education in the Oklahoma House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly, 11-4, to pass House Bill 1380, which barred state funds from being used for AP History and actually mandated what should be taught in the classroom. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Dan Fisher, who said the new AP framework developed by the College Board characterizes the U.S. as a “nation of oppressors and exploiters” and shows “what is bad about America.”

Last week, however, HB 1380 failed to receive a hearing on the floor of the  House. And while the language could show up in a shell bill or as amendment to another measure later down the road, the lack of a debate and vote effectively kills HB 1380 in this legislative session.

The public outcry against HB 1380 erupted soon after the bill passed the committee. Educators and other supporters mobilized to inform the public and organize protests.

“Oklahoma educators have been contacting legislators to voice their concerns. They’ve also been helping students, parents, and community members to learn about this issue and how to contact members of the legislatures,” explains Matthew Holtzen, AP U.S. History teacher at Enid High School in Enid, Oklahoma.

“Our members were very clear that government should not tell teachers what they should be teaching and that the College Board is a reputable organization that stands for academic excellence,” adds Linda Hampton, president of the Oklahoma Education Association.

To read the article in its entirety, click here.

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