APUSH controversy spreads beyond Oklahoma


Recently, lawmakers in Oklahoma have been doing their best to eliminate AP U.S. History (APUSH) from high schools statewide. Opponents of the curriculum argue that it neglects to teach important facets of American history, and that it casts the nation in an unfavorable, even unpatriotic, light. What do APUSH supporters believe? Here are two students–neither in Oklahoma–who’ve shared their opinions on why the curriculum should be maintained.

Ericka Shin, Clark Magnet High School:

Now, as an American, I believe patriotism is important to maintain “American exceptionalism.” We do need to learn about America’s great beginning and benevolence. Yet this does not mean our darker moments should be swept under the rug. American history has suffered its fair share of racism, misogyny and generally poor decisions in regards to both domestic and foreign affairs.

Does this “dirty laundry” diminish “American exceptionalism” in any way? Absolutely not. Any entity, whether it be an individual or an entire nation, has its unsavory moments. From there, the entities grow past their errors. But by turning a blind eye to America’s darker past, proponents of this bill run the risk of making future generations unpatriotic.

Read the full piece here.

Brooke Kushwaha, St. John’s School:

The current APUSH class has been changed from recent years to center more on critical thinking skills and less on rote memorization. Previously, students could memorize a long list of dates and documents and easily get a 5 on the AP exam. This new focus on analysis provides an outlet to question motives, second-guess presidential decisions and otherwise discredit American infallibility.

Instead, [Rep. Dan] Fisher has proposed a primary document-based curriculum, with speeches from Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush alongside the Gettysburg Address….Lawmakers seem to think that the new curriculum focuses more on the blemishes of American history than the triumphs, proclaiming that a whole chapter on slavery is too much. We don’t spend half that much time on George Washington, they argue. Except we do. I knew about George Washington and his famous cherry tree by the time I was four.

Read the full piece here.