APUSH Back - Compendium

New HS Classes in OK

*Updated 2/24/15 08:00*

Things have been moving rather briskly lately, and I've had a mite o' difficulty keeping up. Holy wow - it's like no one even TAKES those 'Which 1970's TV Commerical ARE You?' quizzes on Facebook anymore - they just post about AP in OK and shake their collective cyber-heads.

My Current Favorites:

A Student Defends AP (I posted this on my blog, but this isn't more me - this is actually good)

Top 10 Reasons America Is Exceptional (Also on my blog, but not mostly me - Christine Custred talks about REAL American Exceptionalism)

VIDEO: Oklahoma Bans AP History Because Facts Suck (**Language Warning**)

Oklahoma Bans AP History Because Facts Suck

Local Edu-Blogs & Related Insights I Find Useful

The Legislative APUSH Push-Back: An Educator's Perspective - OkEdTruths is the definitive source for all things legislative in #oklaed, and this post is no exception. Most of this one, however, is a guest-blog from one of the state's most successful and reputable classroom educators, Mr. David Burton. 

Save AP - OkEdTruths highlights the very real danger that we're on our way towards eliminating one of the few things actually promoting higher education in our public schools right now.

We Must #SaveAP From Our Politicians - Claudia Swisher knows her politicians, but it still hurts watching the sausage being made... welcome to The Jungle.

APUSH: What You Can Still Do - OkEdTruths with his usual clarity and precision.

An Educated Person (The Problem With "Lists" as Curriculum) - This post is not only not specifically intended to be about pending legislation in Oklahoma, it's from an English teacher in a whole other state. But the argument is entirely applicable here - lists of stuff we think "everyone" should know aren't the same as learning or thinking.

AP U.S. History Course Description and other info - This is from the College Board website, so it's not as completely unbiased and objective as, say, the Black Robes for Patriotic God Juice guy in our legislature. Nevertheless, in the same way I try to go to the actual legislation before ranting about the law, it might be helpful to go to the actual course description before damning its progressive contents to hell.

Bringing Back the Black Robe Regiment - Dan Fisher, our Man in Black. This is not parody; this is HIS site.

Plante Fisher 2

And of course my invaluable insights and throwing of furniture:

I'd Rather Be Aquaman (This one is from several months back when Texas was doing the whole 'More Red in Red, White and Blue' thing over the same issue. Plus, this is one amuses me to no end. Turns out I'm narcissistic and vain.)

Oklahoma Turns Against APUSH? (full text of SB 650 as introduced, w/ minor personal commentary)

We've Found A Witch... May We Burn Her? (full text of HB1380 as introduced, w/ minimal commentary) 

Noooobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition! (my overview of just what the fuss is all about - a beginner's guide, as it were)

Meet Senator Josh Brecheen, Part I - Fire From Heaven (you know us history types - thinking we can learn something about the present by analyzing the past)

Meet Senator Josh Brecheen, Part II - Books on the Bonfire  (the Senator is proud of his war on Common Core - surely he won't mind us taking a look?)

OK Senate Bill 650 - Brecheen the Ice (a look at SB 650 and its implications)

HB 1380 - Something Seems Fisher About This (a look at HB1380 and the man proposing it)

Dan Fisher is SHOCKED at What's In His Bill (NPR came to visit, and spoke to two people. A very coherent teacher with a healthy clue, and a man hurt and breathy-offended that people would suggest he means anything he clearly says)

Dumb & Dumber

Other News / Commentary:

Meet the Man Behind the Right's AP History Freak Out - (TalkingPointsMemo.com, 10/9/14)

Oklahoma Legislative Committee Questions Legality of Advanced Placement Courses in Public Schools (The Tulsa World, 2/17/15)

Oklahoma Lawmakers Vote Overwhelmingly to Ban Advanced Placement U.S. History (ThinkProgress.com, 2/17/15)

Oklahoma, Ranked 48th in Education, Votes to Ban AP History Classes (BlueNationReview.com, 2/17/15)

Great, Now Lawmakers Want to Get Rid of AP Classes... (TheLostOgle.com, 2/17/15)

Oklahoma Republicans May Have Outlawed Advanced Placement Classes (TheDailyKos.com, 2/17/15)

Sorry, Oklahoma. You Don't Get To Ban History You Don't Like. (TheGuardian.com, 2/18/15)

News9.com Full Interview With David Burton (News9.com, 2/18/15 - video)

Oklahoma May Scrap AP History for Focusing on America's 'Bad Parts' (NPR "All Things Considered" segment, 2/18/15 - audio)

State Rep. Dan Fisher Introduces a Bill Introduces a Bill that is "Mythology, and Just Not True" (Red Dirt Report, 2/18/15)

Oklahoma Bill Would Make AP U.S. History... History (KFOR.com, 2/18/15 - article w/ video)

Oklahoma Bill Banning AP U.S. History Would Make Students Study Ten Commandments, 3 Speeches by Reagan (ThinkProgress.com, 2/18/15)

The Bizarre War Against AP U.S. History Courses (The Washington Post, 2/19/15)

Oklahoma Teachers Not Too Pleased About Bill to Ban AP U.S. History (Newsweek.com, 2/19/15)

Brecheen Snake Oil

Oklahoma Lawmaker Says He'll Pull Back Controversial AP History Bill for a Rewrite (The Tulsa World, 2/20/15)

Oklahoma Votes to Ban AP U.S. History (TheOnion.com, 2/20/15 - satire, sort of I wish)

Lawmaker Who Targeted AP History Looks to Bring Back the Black Robe Regiment (The Tulsa World, 2/20/15)

The 'Black Robe Regiment': History, law professors counter Oklahoma lawmaker who targeted AP history (The Tulsa World, 2/21/15)

Editorial: Threat to AP U.S. history part of general assault on public education (The Tulsa World, 2/21/15)

Letter to the Editor: Don't Whitewash U.S. History (The Tulsa World, 2/22/15 - written by AP High School Student)

Plante Fisher 1

Things To Ask Your Legislator or Others Supporting the Move to Kill AP:

I'm told I am not always the most dispassionate or rational voice on these subjects. That my 'tone' might be counterproductive in some situations.

Protestor ArrestedI don't know... I think the image of me kicking and crying as I shriek: "WHY DO YOU HATE OUR CHILDREN?!? WHY ARE YOU AFRAID THEY MIGHT THINK OR GROW BEYOND THIS?!? WHAT ENTITY DO YOU SERVE THAT FEARS TRUTH OR LIGHT?!?" and they drag me away, never to be seen by family or friends again - well, it has a certain poignancy, don't you think?

Still, I live to serve. Here's my humble effort to prioritize and organize the existing issues regarding this effort to crush whatever minimal signs of higher level thinking may remain in our students.

Feel free to make comments / corrections / suggestions below. It's not personal - my ego will manage. It usually does.

I'm conflating the House and Senate versions for efficiency. Feel free to link to this page when you email your Representatives and Senators over these bills.

Logistics / Finances:

Q1: What is your reasoning for thinking a multi-national organization like the College Board will submit to the whims of Oklahoma and 'revert' to the previous course outline based on our demands? Are you aware Texas - a state which, whatever our opinions of them, has a much larger population and budget than ours - tried something similar recently with almost no impact? Is this a serious expectation written into the bill, or merely cynical grandstanding?

Q2: Will the state be reimbursing students who under the current system would be receiving college credit for their APUSH scores in amounts equal to whatever additional tuition they'll be paying as a result of this legislation?

Q3: How many years and how many hundreds of thousands of dollars do you plan on devoting to this new, improved AP course and test you wish to design to replace the College Board course and exam? Who, exactly, will write it? How will you pilot it, analyze its effectiveness, seek feedback from universities and public school history teachers around the world - or at least the state?

Q4: Given current budget restraints, where is all of this new money coming from to create this 'new, improved' AP course? Or do you merely plan on adding your list of documents onto the existing framework, despite your lack of faith in the current design?

Q5: How many additional school hours are you willing to finance for students to be adequately submerged in the many hundreds - possibly thousands - of required documents you propose? Will these hours replace current hours spent in math, science, or ELA, or will they be added to the current requirements?

Purpose / Assumptions:

Q6: What is it about other points of view or critical thinking that troubles you in the new APUSH course? Would you be willing to offer examples of APUSH courses currently being taught in Oklahoma which marginalize or ignore foundational documents or 'American exceptionalism' as at least one way to consider our history?

Q7: We hear repeatedly that we're supposed to help students become "college, career, and citizenship ready" (or sometimes just "college & career ready"). Understanding and appreciating multiple points of view or other nation's or culture's paradigms and perspectives is an essential part of any of these three. If this is NOT the primary purpose of public education in Oklahoma, what do you believe that primary purpose SHOULD be?

Q8: Should students who do not come from an Anglo-Saxon background, or share an evangelical Protestant worldview, or conform to whatever else you consider to be the 'real American' standards and beliefs, be denied entrance to advanced coursework? If admitted, can they only pass if sufficiently willing to conform to a single lifestyle and value system, or are other interpretations and questions acceptable if supported with proper evidence?

Q9: Do you believe the values and ideals on which America was founded are so fragile as to be in danger from questions or challenges made in an academic setting? Could you help us understand what it is you believe your faith and your state have to fear from a generation taught to question both their own assumptions and those of others?

Q10: What do you believe is the primary purpose of Social Studies and History in public education?

Q11: Is it more important for students to be able to recite from a list of sacred texts, or be able to recognize, analyze, evaluate, and otherwise explain a variety of texts which they may encounter along the way?


Q12: Could you explain why you chose to include ___________ in your list of required documents, and what parts of this document or this collection of documents you believe is being currently marginilized by the APUSH framework?

I suggest a theme song for efforts to eliminate this whitewashing, flag-waving nonsense:

Etta James - Tell It Like It Is


I know we're not all equally political, but please consider a short email or phone call expressing your thoughts.

If someone wanted to draft a sample and share it, that might be helpful. Mine will be in the comments below, but I'm sure there are better.

 Gandolf and Power


I do believe you have found the smoking gun...any connection to CC will put the good Senator into a fit of rage...He believes he single-handedly slew the CC dragon and saved us all from dirty books (or they're next on his list).

His bill will be heard in Committee tomorrow.

This is just how I approached it. I'm sure there are shorter and better letters - please share yours! Make sure you address the correct bill - HB1380 in the House or SB650 in the Senate.

I'm writing to express my vehement opposition to HB1380, Rep. Fisher's bill to kill Advanced Placement U.S. History due to its insufficiently catering to his evangelical worldview. I will try to limit myself to a few key issues with this bill:

* The 'new' APUSH framework, while not perfect, is designed to promote inquiry and critical thinking in our students. If we believe any of our rhetoric about preparing our young people to function in this century, we can't be afraid that if they think too much they might disagree with us about something.

* The idea that the College Board (the organization which develops and administers AP) will somehow cater to his opposition is ludicrous. It's completely disengenuous to suggest in the legislation itself that we can blackmail them into doing our will. I'm all for a little state pride, but if the collective $$ and influence of Texas couldn't so much as cause a hiccup, we're not going to terrify them with our threats. Instead, we'll just look stupid. Again.

* The suggestion that the state of Oklahoma will develop our own version of the APUSH course and the AP test which goes with it is so delusional as to defy description. The College Board spends years and millions developing, testing, analyzing, and refining these tests. To suggest we can throw together yet another edu-committee and match this demonstrates either an ignorance so grand as to disqualify the one making it from the right to set policy or a manipulation of the uninformed so cynical as to confirm the worst stereotypes of political 'leadership'.

On the outside chance we were to come up with something - however proud we decide we are of it - no university outside of those required to by state law to do so would recognize it or give comparable credit for it. The very suggestion is embarrassing.

* The desired impact of this legislation is unethical, irrational, and one of the more blatant attacks on our youth from a body already quite fond of undercutting public education. AP helps our students prepare for college or other post-secondary pursuits, and often leads to college credit before they get there. You know the stats as well as I - it's good for our kids, financially and educationally.

By going after young people seeking to better prepare for higher pursuits, our legislature is not only once again undercutting and diminishing public education in Oklahoma, but taking active, cruel steps towards ensuring that our kids will be unfit and unable to repair it, or do much of anything else that might threaten the status quo or improve our state's economy, culture, or reputation.

I can find no spin or scenario in which this bill is both sincere and informed. It is either the product of the worst sort of cynicism and evil intent, or ignorant of reality to the point of delusion.

I welcome your corrections or comments if I am perhaps missing some meaningful reason to further punish students seeking to challenge themselves or expand their potential personally and academically.

Thank you for your time. Please end this atrocity (HB1380) as soon as possible.


"I can find no spin or scenario in which this bill is both sincere and informed"

Today it's AP US History. What will the next target be?

On behalf of all AP teachers in our state who look at this bill and wonder if they're next, I am asking you to vote against HB1380 in Committee on Monday. I will be attending the meeting if you'd like to visit in person about this bill.

AP US History (APUSH) is a college-level course that should not be tampered with by state politicians. The test is a strongly-vetted test that allows many of our students to earn college credit. In the past few years about 1200 of our students in OK earned some kind of credit, with some kiddos saving their parents up to $1200 in college tuition, according to the going credit-hour cost.

Schools are used to unfunded mandates...they happen too often for us to feel surprised, but HB1380 and its companion in the Senate will be an unfunded mandate for parents...forcing them to pay big bucks when before students' achievement on the AP test would have rewarded them.

As an English teacher who never taught AP, I only have second-hand experience with the courses, but I know they are rigorous, demanding, challenging. I know we are encouraging all students to hold themselves up to the highest standards in our schools. What is the message this bill sends to these high-achieving students? AP classes are the best way to prepare students for the hard work of post-high school academics.

I am attaching a blog post by an APUSH teacher with his analysis and concerns.

Please attend to the myriad of real problems in our schools intead of choosing ideological fights that will fundamentally handicap our students when they attend college. You would be taking away a tool to make our students college-and-career ready after school. They would be behind their counterparts from other states where APUSH has not been attacked.

Please vote no...for our students and their futures.

Please join me in my effort to ensure that AP classes remain legal and sign this petition: https://www.change.org/p/oklahoma-lawmakers-don-t-ban-ap-courses


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