The War on Advanced Placement U.S. History (APUSH) racked up another successful squirmish Tuesday, as the Oklahoma House Education committee voted to ban any state funding of the classes, because APUSH is bad for America.
The bill was introduced as an “emergency” measure by super-patriot state Rep. Dan Fischer, who is a member of something calling itself the “Black Robe Regiment,” a group advocating closer ties between church and state. As far as we can tell, the group grew out of Glenn Beck’s 2010 “Restoring Honor” Rally, so congratulations to Beck on actually being connected to something that did something. Something stupid, but still. The Black Robers fear that America has been brought to ruin by a “progressive agenda” and that “the church and God himself has been under assault” by secularist Blue Meanies. So obviously, banning the new AP History standards is at the top of Fischer’s agenda, because there’s simply not enough emphasis on American Exceptionalism, and also because Fischer is a rightwing idiot who was deeply persuaded by the claims of Larry Krieger, the one-man army who has largely been responsible for making opposition to APUSH a rightwing shibboleth.
Krieger testified to the Education Committee via conference call and recited his usual litany of claims that the revised APUSH framework teaches only the bad side of American history, doesn’t worship the Founders enough, and for all we know, he also blamed it for ISIS and the recent snowstorms on the East Coast. He also hinted darkly that the AP framework was created by the same cabal of evil America haters responsible for the Common Core, which Oklahoma outlawed last year.
College Board representative John Williamson said the claims about APUSH by Krieger and Fischer are “mythology and not true,” which is exactly what an enemy of American Exceptionalism would say, isn’t it? William noted that several learning objectives from the AP framework did support the concept of American Exceptionalism, although he didn’t say so while pledging Allegiance to the Flag, so it didn’t count.
Other members of the Education Committee want to take the anti-AP crusade a little farther, including state Rep. Sally Kern, who took a little time out from fretting about gays to ask the state’s attorney general to look into whether AP classes are even legal in Oklahoma, seeing as how last year’s repeal of Common Core gave the state sole control over determining curricula and assessment in Oklahoma schools, and the College Board is very definitely based in New Jersey, not Oklahoma at all. We imagine her floor speech sounded a bit like one of those Pace picante sauce ads where decent god-fearing westerners are horrified at the prospect of eating salsa made by heathen Easterners.
Following the 11-4 vote to send the Death To APUSH bill to the full House, the Education Committee took up a bill to declare the Earth flat, to require teachers registered as Democrats to sign a loyalty oath, and to remove references to any U.S. presidents after Reagan from all history books used in public schools.