There’s a bill pending in the Oklahoma state house that would effectively gut Advanced Placement U. S. history classes across the state. Lest you think this can be dismissed as another instance of wingnuttery from a crimson-red state, it sounds like this is becoming a nationwide battle cry. At least, that’s the way it looks based on a discussion that took place on Thursday’s edition of “Outnumbered” on Fox News Channel.
While discussing the law, Kennedy Montgomery harrumphed that the current AP U. S. history curriculum was a strong argument for closing public schools altogether. She apparently agreed with the Oklahoma law’s author, state representative Dan Fisher, who said that he didn’t like that AP students are being taught material that “undermines our history.” To Kennedy’s mind, such things are to be expected when you have “centralized bureaucratic education doctrines and dogmas.”
The lone male on that day’s panel, Judge Alex Ferrer, disagreed, saying that our kids need to learn “the good, the bad and the ugly” about our history. The best way to teach it, he argued, is to acknowledge that we’ve made mistakes, “and we learn, and we hopefully advance and do better.” So did Kirsten Powers, who thought there should be a balance between American exceptionalism and the times this country has stubbed its toe. She pointed out that Fisher has an agenda as well; most of the speeches he suggested should be studied came from Republican presidents.
Andrea Tantaros, however, seemed to side with Kennedy. To her mind, AP history should not only be gutted, but the federal Department of Education–long an object of scorn on the right–should be abolished as well. She also claimed that colleges and universities focus too much on the bad things this country has done–and that mentality is leaking into the schools as well. As a result, kids aren’t getting the most basic principles because “they are getting this meaningless liberal crap every day!”
Sadly, a significant number of Republican lawmakers and activists seem to be thinking along the lines of Kennedy and Tantaros. In the name of cutting red tape and going “back to basics,” we could potentially see more travesties like this law pending in Oklahoma. Granted, there were some voices of sanity, something that seems to be getting rarer and rarer on Fox News lately. But it doesn’t look like Ferrer and Powers’ advice is being heeded–at least not in Oklahoma.