APUSH Back - Compendium
*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**)
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.
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)
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)
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)
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.
I 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:
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.