I am dumbfounded—and even that isn’t strong enough to describe my feeling—that Oklahoma lawmakers are trying to block funding for AP U.S. History courses. Really, people? REALLY?
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You know what’s a really great way to make U.S. students more college ready? Taking away classes that prepare them for college. High school students need access to challenging courses like AP U.S. History (or APUSH, as I lovingly called it), and I know teachers, professors, and historians can make more eloquent cases for its value than I can, but hear me out.
The skills gained from this course are reason enough to keep it around. APUSH made me a better critical thinker, problem solver, and writer. I did real analysis and research and discovered the joy of primary documents. I was exposed to college-level texts and writing assignments as a junior in high school. I got free college credit! Seriously, what’s not to love?
And let’s be real—APUSH made me a better citizen. My passionate and knowledgeable teacher Dr. Sherblom taught me about the country from multiple perspectives and forced me to always back up my opinions and statements with evidence. I learned about the glories and the horrors of the U.S. and that knowledge has informed civic activities that I engage in to this day.
Hearing both the wonderful and terrible things in the country’s history didn’t irrevocably tarnish my opinion of my nation. I love America—Go USA—and APUSH made me love it more because I had a more profound and well-rounded understanding of how the nation came to its present-day state.
And that’s why I can’t understand why Oklahoma lawmakers would take historical context away from its students. Our country is what it is today not just because of the “exceptional” events and people that have shaped it, but also because of its exceptional failures and mistakes. You have to look at all sides of history to get a complete picture. And if we’re going to starting taking that away from the future, history will look so ugly to them.