A history education is crucial not only for understanding the context of modern society, but also for teaching critical thinking skills.
That being said, why is it that some states, like Oklahoma, feel that what students are learning in classrooms is not in their best interests?
On Feb. 16, Oklahoma Representative Dan Fischer introduced legislation to halt state funding of Advanced Placement United States History (APUSH) courses because the curriculum failed to teach “American exceptionalism.” A good portion of the state legislators believe APUSH paints an “incomplete picture” of American history, according to an Associated Press report.
However, the college-accredited course, which emphasizes historical analysis and still covers positive topics like the development of national American culture, democratization and the Progressive Age of reforms, gives a more complete picture than a glorified version of our nation’s history ever will.
Although there may be some events throughout American history that we no longer take pride in, they still are crucial to understanding the society in which we live today.
There always seems to be more restrictions on learning in the classroom than there are opportunities to expand a child’s knowledge. Many course materials, such as novels like Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and Joseph Heller’s “Catch-22,” are core pieces in some curriculums throughout the U.S. and banned in others.
For a country based on the tenets of freedom, there are still many limitations placed on the public education system.
Our educational system is supposed to be progressing, not regressing. Forms of censorship in the curriculum will be nothing but a setback for students today. Citizens of the United States should take pride in the peaks of their history, recognize its low points and be fully aware of how our country came to exist as it is today.
It is neither fair nor just of Oklahoma’s government to deprive its citizens of knowledge about what their country and state were built upon. Depriving American high school students of a holistic curriculum that aligns with higher education standards, simply for the sake of patriotism, will only end up becoming yet another wrong move in history.
Emerald Rempel is a freshman majoring in management.
Featured image courtesy Mike Mozart via Flickr