The Debate on New APUSH Curriculum

American history has been a topic of debate for years, by both historians and general public. While the newly revised Advance Placement United States History curriculum has been accepted by several states across the nation, Oklahoma seems to criticize the framework, asserting that it lacks patriotism. The state passed a bill that defunded the current curriculum. The sponsor of the bill, Republican Representative Dan Fisher, argues that the modified curriculum “trades an emphasis on America’s founding principles of Constitutional government in favor of robust analyses of gender and racial oppression and class ethnicity and the lives of marginalized people.” Unfortunately, our history does not all consist of honorable men and women embracing Native Americans and African Americans; we have primarily been a nation of oppressors and exploiters. According to Brookfield Central’s one and only AP U.S History teacher, Mr. Keir, “People who are against the curriculum emphasize the ‘ugly’ side of American history too much, but perhaps, if we taught the ‘ugly’ side of American history, there would be less ‘ugly’ sides to teach in the future.”

The U.S is a flawed country, and eliminating the flaws would alter our history. These flaws are facts, and it is certainly up to the readers to decide what to make of them. Supporters of this bill argue that the new curriculum ignores American exceptionalism, the ideology that America is based on liberty, democracy, and “laissez-faire.” However, the revised framework does not ignore our nation’s eminent achievements; rather, it simply emphasizes areas we stumbled over and how we learned from them, aiding students in developing critical historical thinking skills. As former AP U.S History student Zheng Yan (‘16) retorted, “”I find it great that Oklahoma decided to take the initiative and ban this shameful course from its curriculum, in favor of a brighter alternative: All students have the right to learn about how Andrew Jackson patriotically teamed up with Jesus to eradicate the Satanic savages from our lands in 1830.”