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Reagan Speeches Are Required Reading in Oklahoma Bill to Replace AP U.S. History

February 18, 2015 in Blogs

By Laura Clawson, Daily Kos

This is what happens when Republican legislators determine the school curriculum.

The education bill Oklahoma Republicans are pushing wouldn't just ban the Advanced Placement U.S. History course, it would offer a required reading list of its own. And it's a doozy:

The bill, authored by Oklahoma Rep. Dan Fisher, designates a total of 58 documents that “shall form the base level of academic content for all United States History courses offered in the schools in the state.” Many of the texts are uncontroversial and undoubtedly covered by the Advanced Placement U.S. History course, such as the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and Gettysburg address. But the bill also has an ideological and religious bent. In addition to 3 speeches by Reagan, the curriculum includes a speech by George W. Bush but nothing from any Democratic president since Lyndon Johnson.

That will certainly help do away with all the pesky nuance conservatives object to in the AP U.S. History framework. Who wants a history class developed by historians and educators when you can have one developed by Republican legislators?

To be fair, there's some minor acknowledgement of the Civil Rights movement, including Martin Luther King, Jr.'s “Letter from the Birmingham Jail” and “I have a dream” speech, but apparently the 1970s and 1990s did not exist—or won't in the version of history taught in Oklahoma, anyway—and the 1980s and 2000s are to be represented solely by Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.

Oklahoma high school graduates don't need to know about the 1970s or 1990s. They'll be totally prepared for a world in which Republican legislators didn't write the curriculum, right? Well, unless they plan to leave the state to go to college in places where their classmates had an actual history education.

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