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Friday, February 20, 2015

So long, APUSH?

Earlier this week, Oklahoma tried to ban AP US History because it "isn't quite pro-America enough," according to CNN's Kevin Conlon.

The bill has not gone through yet, but it has been introduced to state legislation.

I don't have words for this bit of news. I'm still processing how outrageous it is to try and ban a class that promotes critical thinking and analysis of America's shortcomings.

In my final semester of high school, we talked a lot about how the public education system was changing. Common Core was always a big part of this discussion, because it was hard to comprehend a school system that does not encourage any critical thought whatsoever and emphasizes information regurgitation.

My APUSH notes from my junior year of high school. Check out my APUSH study guide here.

However, I always thought to myself that even though schools were now more focused on test scores than on critical thought, it would be okay, because the interested students would be able to take AP classes if they were interested. I cannot comprehend and do not wish to participate in an education system that focuses solely on testing.

My biggest question when I heard this piece of news was "why?" Why take the most popular AP class away from an entire state of kids? I rattled the reasons back and forth; cost, lack of teachers, overcrowded classrooms, insufficient supplies and/or training, etc., and all of them were valid reasons why an AP system might not be feasible for a school. What I did not understand, is why the government wanted to ban this class entirely. Why take away the class that shows you all of America's shortcomings? Why take away the class that makes you learn history from the opposing viewpoints? And once I realized I was asking those questions, the answer became startlingly simple. Critical thought is no longer a critical asset in education; based on the government's shift from traditional classes to Common Core and now, this proposed ban of APUSH, the government does not want it to be.

I am still struggling with the notion that APUSH could be wiped from an entire state because it teaches an opposing point of view. It makes me sad and angry that a state government does not want its young adults to think critically.

"I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually."
- James A. Baldwin

Right on, Mr. Baldwin.

xx, Victoria

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Thoughts? I want to read them!
xx, Victoria