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Save AP

February 17, 2015

This fight is bigger than we thought. We’re no longer talking about simply saving APUSH. We’re talking about saving all of our Advanced Placement courses. As the Tulsa World reports, the House Common Education Committee voted 11-4 (along party lines) yesterday to make teaching AP US History illegal. If this measure were to go forward, all AP courses could be in jeopardy. This is a product of 2014’s HB 3399 which overturned the Common Core.

The legality of teaching Advanced Placement courses in Oklahoma public schools was raised Monday during a House Common Education Committee hearing on a bill aimed at the AP U.S. history guidelines.

That measure, House Bill 1380, by Rep. Dan Fisher, R-Yukon, would direct the state Board of Education to review those guidelines and bar the use of state funds for AP U.S. history courses.

During discussion and debate, however, it was suggested that AP courses are similar to Common Core, in that they could be construed as an attempt to impose a national curriculum on American schools.

It was also suggested that AP courses violate the legislation approved last year that repealed Common Core, with state Rep. Sally Kern, R-Oklahoma City, saying she has asked the state Attorney General’s Office for a ruling on the matter.

That legislation gives sole control of curriculum and assessment to the state, although it was not immediately clear whether the requirement applies to all courses or only to required courses.

Although HB 1380 specifically targets U.S. history, a ruling that it violates state law related to curriculum and assessment could apply to all AP courses.

A couple of weeks ago, I gave space for Southmoore High School teacher David Burton to explain how this course is no less patriotic than the previous iteration of APUSH. Nonetheless, the committee heard myth after myth, evidence to refute the falsehoods, and carried on as if nothing had happened. I listened to much of the committee meeting, and I was struck by the sheer ignorance of what I heard. It was depressing.

I don’t have a lot of time to write this morning, but we really need to be active and fast on this issue. Legislators need to hear from parents. They need to hear from students. They need to know how these courses have impacted your education, and how these courses have saved you money in college. Teachers and administrators have spoken. The legislature hasn’t heard us, apparently.

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  1. Katherine Kuhlmann
    February 17, 2015 at 9:12 am

    Reading this is making me want to contact my legislators. Thank you for making me aware. I’m an 18 yro sophomore in college (graduated HS at 17). I am so far ahead in college because of AP. AP has always made me feel like I’m not a huge nerd. Also, i stand being in “regular classes”… This may make me sound conceited. But honestly, who wants to be in a classroom with a bunch of students who don’t want to be there, who don’t want to go to college, who think “ratchet” is an acceptable word to use in an essay. WHY would they get rid of the wonderful AP curriculum?? Have they ever actually BEEN IN AN AP CLASSROOM? probably not. Open your eyes! Ask involved students like me, ask the AP teachers, ask the regular teachers, ask the SPED teachers, ask admin around the state.


  2. Susan McHale
    February 17, 2015 at 11:49 am

    As a former Social Studies teacher, I am appalled at the lack of knowledge our legislators display when it comes to understanding AP courses or recognizing outstanding curriculum, period. AP curriculum offers students not only a patriotic view of the US but delves deeply into the challenges that founding fathers faced when trying to construct a new government. How do we keep legislators out of the public education venue especially since their agenda is about securing votes rather than finding out what makes for quality education?


  3. jean davis
    February 17, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    WE have to vote these idiots out!


  4. Fjord
    February 17, 2015 at 7:24 pm

    The current bill that has everyone’s attention doesn’t, I don’t think, make AP classes illegal, though it does definitely restrict any government money from being spent on them which in the case of public schools is basically the same thing. The request from Kern to consider all AP courses banned by a previous law would certainly have that effect though.

    And even amid all of this there is another bill, Senate Bill 609, that is seeking to institute vouchers, funded by money that would have otherwise gone to public schools, enabling parents to pay for private school education or simply home school their kids.

    This is entirely unacceptable.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Maria Kindel
    February 18, 2015 at 7:39 am

    not only will you be taking any competitive edge our future college applicants have by removing AP courses from HS curriculum, you will be giving them important voter motivation to remove you from office in the very near future! I have a HS senior and feel deeply that his many AP courses are what gave him the academic edge to become a National Merit scholar. He will be voting next year, and is very upset at the possibility that his sisters will not have the same AP opportunities – so less academic and scholarship competitiveness. He is upset by how future ranks of OU or OSU students can Matt his degree by simply being less prepared for college and less “worthy of note” in national stats and standards. It would be sad to see our state colleges shift away from as many home grown students to maintain their national worth. Removing AP courses has a trickle up and pay it forward impact you do NOT want!


  6. The Art of Revision in Education
    February 18, 2015 at 8:03 am

    FROM A BAT in NY:
    With all due respect have you read the entire textbook and seen the questions that correspond? Oklahoma does not want to proceed down this path NY is on. Please go pretend to be an actual 15-16 year old in this class for one week? One month? The history of our country is being rewritten discreetly with a few contextual words being skewed which change the entire meaning! I beg you to read EVERY page and you too will discover the same errors.



  7. The Art of Revision in Education
    February 18, 2015 at 8:17 am

    You truly don’t see how this teaches students a one-sided perspective on history?

    Click to access apushamsco.pdf


  8. The Art of Revision in Education
    February 18, 2015 at 8:23 am

    I suggest you begin on page 101 & 102

    Click to access apushamsco.pdf


  9. Jacquelyn Burkett
    February 18, 2015 at 8:43 am

    Yes, this is disturbing. AP classes are one way we excercise differentiated instruction to meet the needs of all learners. We place a great deal of emphasis (as we should) on remediating struggling learners, but we are also called to acknowledge and expand on the strengths of gifted students. Hence, the term “Meeting the needs of all learners!” To ignore the needs of gifted students is doing our state and country a disservice-these are our leaders of tomorrow.

    To claim that Common Core is the culprit and we will tackle it head on by eliminating AP classes is another example of how politicians (who know nothing about what goes on in the classroom), see everything as black or white. It’s one extreme or another, there is a huge lack of balance! It’s also an example of how they don’t really see students and teachers as people, they just throw these decisions out there in a reactive manner like the house is on fire and we better put the fire out or we are all going down. AP classes are not the fire!

    Where will the lack of AP classes leave parents who want their gifted children challenged and fully prepared for success in the best colleges? –putting them in charter schools, i.e vouchers taking money away from public schools? Why does is seem like one political party always has an agenda to take down public schools? And why do we educators always have to defend who we are and what we do for our students?? Here we go again!


  10. February 18, 2015 at 10:00 am

    Do you have the names of the committee members who voted in support of HB 1380?



  11. Nicholas Hendricks
    February 19, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    This among many other things that have been done in Oklahoma disappoints me as a member of the state and as a human being. ANY AP class is great for all kids in school it teaches you to think and react to things at a higher level. If you pass this, and all the other bans that a bound to follow, I for one will no longer want anything to do with this state and your incompetence to see Cleary the benefits from having AP Courses in high school. You will lose a majority of your young Oklahomans, and will no longer have a future for as long as the jokes you call a state government are in office. I hope you really take into account the repercussions of your actions on taking away AP Courses. I WILL NOT ever want my children to grow up in a state that is I’m the bottom 5 in education in America, and taking away AP classes will further hurt your cause and drive YOUR FUTURE out of the state.


  12. Bec
    February 19, 2015 at 6:31 pm

    This is one example of our legislature’s actions concerning education. What bothers me is the fact that the general public is holding individual school districts, administrators, and teachers responsible for these decisions. How can we get the public to hold the legislature responsible for their decisions?


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