No AP History, Unless It’s Old-School American History

More education on the founding fathers? Yes, please, but hold the white-washing. (Image courtesy of Wellcome Images, via Wikimedia Commons)

When I was in school, I took AP classes in history, English and Spanish. I couldn’t tell you what specifics the curriculum covered — most days by dinnertime I couldn’t tell you what I ate for lunch — but I do remember the lively discussions that were typical of those gatherings.

There was usually a good natured argument or two going on as we chewed over the nuances of things not covered in traditional classes. That’s what makes this latest news bit I ran across so incredibly disturbing.

According to an article I readin New York Magazine, lawmakers in Oklahoma and Georgia are doing their best to ban AP classes in their respective states because — and this is the scary bit — essentially, they seem to believe that what’s not pro-American or old-school American, shouldn’t be taught at all.

Earlier this month, the Georgia state Senate introduced a resolution rejecting a new version of AP U.S. History because it presents “a radically revisionist view of American history.” There wasn’t enough “discussion of America’s Founding Fathers, the principles of the Declaration of Independence, the religious influences on our nation’s history.” If the course isn’t revised, the state says it will cut funding for the course.

OK, no strong arm, my way or the highway tactics there. Not at all. Texas, North Carolina and South Carolina are having similar AP beef, according to the article.

Inconveniently for minorities, or anyone who’s a fan of diversity of thought or difference in general, what’s not necessarily pro-American is most of the details about our different historical perspectives. And we all know that time in school, as in most places, is at a premium, which means every topic won’t get equal coverage, and some may not be covered at all.

But my question is, what chance has diversity got to create truly inclusive academic and workplace environments if the fundamentals that we teach in our schools — or in the workplace — are whitewashed? Pun intended.

Conservatives, I contend you may have a point if AP courses don’t teach the specifics about the founding fathers and the Declaration of Independence. Those are the basics and foundations cannot be built without the basics, but can’t you leave some room for more?

More is a concept we can all agree America understands well, no? More opportunity, more land, more chances, more money, more options. It’s that last one I’m concerned about.

Let’s not limit the information we provide to our young minds. Limited information, after all, is a sure fire next step to limited innovation, limited growth — also known as limited bottom lines — and limited opportunity.