OK House Bill 1380 - Something Seems Fisher About This
I’m going to try to cover the House version of the ‘Smother APUSH With Documents’ bill without the oppressive word count of my post on the Senate version.
I am not optimistic.
STATE OF OKLAHOMA
1st Session of the 55th Legislature (2015)
HOUSE BILL 1380
I don’t actually know much about Mr. Fisher, but this bit from what appears to be his website is, well... terrifying:
Dan has a Passion for communicating God’s truth to this culture of “political correctness” and with America’s increasing “drift” from its founding principles and its Christian roots, he has become even more committed to helping return America to its faith. He is on the boards of Bott Christian Radio Network, Reclaiming America for Christ, and Vision America, a ministry of evangelist Rick Scarborough based in Houston, TX. Dan is also on the leadership team of the OKC Tea Party and is frequent speaker at tea party rallies around the state. He is a published author and has a national speaking ministry.
Bringing Back the Black Robed Regiment:
In the past few years, Dan has traveled the country presenting the messages “Seven Lies We’re Being Told About America” and “Bringing Back the Black Robed Regiment”. “Seven Lies” is a presentation that addresses the attacks being launched against America’s Christian heritage by the “politically correct” progressives. It proves beyond a “shadow of a doubt” that Christians founded America – not atheists and deists, and that the Founders wanted a country where Christianity would have a strong impact – not a country where faith and government would be divided by a “strict separation of church and state”.
So that can't possibly go badly.
I am not against challenging our current interpretations of history, any more than I'm against challenging our current understanding of evolution or climate change. Live it up, 'Merica.
I am against legislating out of dogmatic conviction or rewriting the past to fit our current evangelical or political agenda. There is no Biblical scenario in which obscuring or avoiding the truth sets us free.
I am against crusades to reclaim the metaphorical Holy Land via hacking away at public education.
I am against imprisoning Galileo for claiming the sun does not revolve around the earth as per contemporaneous interpretations of the sacred texts.
I am against starting with your desired outcome and mutilating reality as necessary to get there. I am against using state tax dollars and our legislative branch to act as a sort of Spanish Inquisition against inquiry and other points of view.
I told you I was going to blow it on the word count.
Back to 1380:
An Act relating to schools; directing the State Board of Education to adopt a certain United States History program and assessment; requiring United States History courses to include the study of certain documents; listing the documents; amending 70 O.S. 2011, Section 1210.703, which relates to financial incentives awarded to schools under the Oklahoma Advanced Placement Incentive Program; prohibiting the awarding of grants or expenditure of money for any Advanced Placement United States History course until certain conditions are met; providing for codification; providing an effective date; and declaring an emergency.
Positives so far: only one use of the word ‘certain’ instead of just saying what you mean.
Negatives so far: we’re still declaring an ‘emergency’. Are all state legislators former meteorologists?
A. By the 2015 - 2016 school year, the State Board of Education shall identify and adopt a United States History program and corresponding test which school districts shall offer in lieu of the Advanced Placement United States History course and test. The program and test shall not contradict or conflict with the subject matter standards for United States History adopted by the Board.
I discussed the improbability of this last time. I’m still amazed this can be proposed with a straight face – it’s either that delusional or that cynically deceptive.
B. Any United States History course offered in schools in the state, including Honors and Advanced Placement courses shall include as part of the primary instruction the appropriate grade-level study of the following foundational and historical documents:
At least they used the same source for their list of America’s Best 1000 Documents. I’ll skip most of these.
4. Founding documents of the United States that contributed to the foundation or maintenance of the representative form of limited government, the free-market economic system and American exceptionalism;
Don’t forget “states’ rights.”
7. Acts of the United States Congress, including the published text of the Congressional Record;
How did I miss this in the other version? I was apparently distracted by the inclusion of everything every President ever has ever written, said, or done. If there’s a way to top that, it has to be requiring the entirety of Congressional Records for the same time period.
I’m going to need to ask my principal for more copies on the big machine downstairs.
It’s ironic, really, given that members of Congress don’t even read the stuff they pass, that we’d require it of 16-year olds. Then again, if they’re busy reading the Congressional Record, they won’t have time to question why we have a Legislature made up of members who don’t even read the stuff they pass.
h. portions of the book titled "The Grapes of Wrath" written by John Steinbeck,
Socialists and boobies, my friends – required by law. You read it here first.
Just wait until Sally Kern finds out!
qq. the letter known as the "Letter from Birmingham Jail" written by Martin Luther King, Jr.,
rr. the I Have a Dream speech made by Martin Luther King, Jr.,
Hey, a second MLK document in this one! Representative Fisher can claim with mathematical accuracy to have pushed for 25% MORE documents by famous Black Americans than the Senator. And he included the one promoting minorities stirring up trouble when injustice prevails!
Obviously he hasn’t read his own list any more than the Senator read his. Oh well…
SECTION 2. AMENDATORY 70 O.S. 2011, Section 1210.703, is amended to read as follows:
A. Contingent upon the provision of appropriated funds designated for the Oklahoma Advanced Placement Incentive Program, the State Board of Education is hereby authorized to award schools:
1. A one-time equipment and/or instructional materials grant for the purpose of providing an advanced placement course, based on criteria established by the Department. Schools which receive the grants shall:
a. offer the advanced placement courses beginning the school year following receipt of the grant,
b. provide the College Board training within one (1) year of the grant award, including at least a one-week summer institute. Teachers shall be encouraged to attend annual follow-up training, and
c. make available advanced placement examinations to all students taking the course for which a grant has been awarded;
2. Additional grants to school sites demonstrating successful implementation, as defined by the State Board of Education, of the courses for which the first grants were awarded. Schools may qualify for additional grants a minimum of four (4) years after receiving a grant award;
3. Subsidized training for advanced placement courses, preadvanced placement courses, or International Baccalaureate courses in a form, manner and time prescribed by the Department;
4. One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) for each score of three or better on an advanced placement test or four or better on an International Baccalaureate examination; provided, these funds shall be used for the purpose of Advanced Placement Program development;
5. For those students who demonstrate financial need as defined by the College Board or the International Baccalaureate Organization, a share of the advanced placement or International Baccalaureate test fee;
6. For those students who take more than one advanced placement or International Baccalaureate test in one (1) year, a share of the advanced placement test or International Baccalaureate fee in a manner prescribed by the Board; and
7. Grants for the purpose of developing an advanced placement vertical team based on criteria established by the Board.
B. Upon completion of the test, the State Department of Education shall obtain from the College Board and the International Baccalaureate Organization a list of students in Oklahoma who scored a three or higher on the advanced placement test or a four or higher on the International Baccalaureate test. Financial incentives for schools provided in this section shall be awarded at the beginning of the next school year following the school year in which the test was taken.
C. Any new expenditure authorized pursuant to Section 1210.701et seq. of this title shall be contingent upon the availability of funds.
Well, that certainly sounds supportive, doesn’t it? Except that’s what the law ALREADY says. This token bit of support for AP and IB has been around for several year. Here’s the NEW part Rep. Fisher wants to add:
D. Beginning with the 2015-2016 school year, the Board shall not award any grants to school districts or make any expenditure of state funds as authorized pursuant to this section for equipment, instructional materials, course development, professional development or training, examination awards or examination scholarships for the Advanced Placement United States History course until the College Board changes the framework for the course and reverts back to the course framework and examination that were used prior to the 2014-2015 school year.
In other words, if the College Board doesn’t meet our demands, we’re taking our already deflated money bags and refusing to play anymore. Just as with the other version of the bill, there is no spin or interpretation – however full of goodwill towards men – which can render this both reasonable and well-intentioned.
This either demonstrates of level of unfamiliarity with how the education world – or any world, really – works (unforgiveable if we’re so presumptuous as to legislate about it), or a brazen manipulation of the legislative process to deceive the ignorant and the agitated for self-aggrandizement and gain.
If you can possibly spin this more positively, please do so in the Comments below. I’d love to find another option – seriously.
SECTION 4. It being immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health and safety, an emergency is hereby declared to exist, by reason whereof this act shall take effect and be in full force from and after its passage and approval.
This Section, as with the comparable section in the Senate version, is what we in the idealist world of public education call “blatantly untrue” – what the commoners call “a lie”, or more colloquially, “bullsh*t.”
The preservation of public peace, health, and safety? Really? An EMERGENCY?
Now, now, Blue – these are just things legislators have to say to get things passed. They don’t actually mean what they sound like they mean. It’s something you have to say to play the game and navigate the rules – you can’t read it literally. You have to read past what it says and understand what they really mean.
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