Dumbing down? Oklahoma votes to ban AP History classes

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OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma - What's in the past stays in the past?  Oklahoma has a new approach to how U.S. history should be taught which keep the positive things in, and leave the ugly things out.  On Monday, the State Legislature House Education Committee overwhelmingly voted to ban Advanced Placement History, arguing that it basically teaches high school students what is wrong with America.

"There are some factions who are very concerned about how history is portrayed," explained Gene B. Preuss, PhD, Associate Professor of History at the University of Houston Downtown.

Promoters of this initiative say the education of history should be focused on the concept of the "America the Great," rather than analyzing and trying to interpret the events of the past with all their complexity.

"There are some people who believe that if we look at the negative sides of history, that maybe we didn't do things right all along, they take that very personally and maybe that's embarrassing," said Preuss, "instead of looking at it as an opportunity to learn from the past."

The 11-4 vote was pretty much a Republicans versus Democrats kind of thing.  Republican Rep. Dan Fisher, member of the so-called "Black Robed Regiment," introduced the proposal.  In his opinion, there is too much emphasis on studying racial and social issues and that leaving religion outside the curriculum can only hurt our national identity and morale.

"Any time you talk about interpretation you're going to have bias one way or the other," added Preuss.  "The point is just to get beyond that kind of visceral, knee-jerk reaction bias and to look objectively at the past."

So, you don't have to be a history buff to see that some folks are actually trying to take us back in time.

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