Oklahoma bill proposing ban on state funding for AP History program gets rewrite

by Vanessa Garcia Rodriguez, |
Oklahoma students protest a state bill that opposes the new framework of the Advanced Placement Program for U.S. history. | Patrick Wine/Save Advanced Placement Courses in Oklahoma Facebook

OKLAHOMA CITY (Christian Examiner) -- A rewrite is underway for the Oklahoma bill proposing to strike state funding of Advanced Placement U.S. History courses because the content omits the concept of "American exceptionalism" and is imbalanced in presenting negative aspects of the country's history.

The bill's initial draft seeks to replace the program with a board-approved alternative in line with recently introduced state-approved subject matter.

The author of House Bill 1380, Rep. Dan Fisher, R-Yukon, told the Oklahoman Feb. 26 the rewrite would clarify the intent is not to abolish the national advanced placement program in the state.

"We're trying to fix the bill," Fisher said. "It was very poorly worded and was incredibly ambiguous, and we didn't realize that, so it's been misinterpreted. We're going to clear it up so folks will know exactly what we're trying to accomplish and it's not to hurt AP. We're very supportive of the AP program."

Media drew attention to the bill after it passed the Oklahoma House committee along party lines 11-4, with Republicans voting in its favor and Democrats against.

The Advanced Placement Program content and tests are developed and adminstered by The College Board, a not-for-profit that also adminstrates the SAT college entrance exam. Students who pass the exams earn college credit that allows them more freedom in their programs of study and cuts college costs.

Critics of Fisher's bill argue the legislation will endanger students' opportunities. Nearly 5,000 people took to Facebook to Save Advanced Placement Courses in Oklahoma. Some even joined in protest in front of the capitol building Thursday.

Controversy over the curriculum first began after conservatives questioned the tone of a fall 2014 framework of the curriculum which The Republican National Committee called a "radically revisionist view of American history that emphasizes negative aspects of our nation's history."

The RNC as well as the Texas State Board of Education have asked The College Board to revise the curriculum, but board officials claim AP U.S. history teachers and U.S. history professors support the new framework.