February 17, 2015

Okla. Education Chief Wants to Talk About AP History Ban

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Oklahoma’s schools chief wants to meet with a lawmaker about his bill to keep Advanced Placement history courses out of high school classrooms.

Meanwhile, a student’s petition protesting the move, started Tuesday afternoon, garnered several hundred signatures by the end of the day.

Phil Bacharach, a spokesman for Superintendent Joy Hofmeister, said she wants to talk to Rep. Dan Fisher, R-Yukon, about his concerns with AP U.S. history and what his goals are with the bill.

“I know she is withholding her judgment until she meets with him,” Bacharach said. “Obviously, it’s gotten some attention.”

The bill was approved by the state’s education committee by an 11-4 vote Monday. (See votes below.)

The bill prevents the state Department of Education from providing funding to school districts for AP U.S. history courses.

The results lit up social media Tuesday with some people deriding the decision or mocking Oklahoma, while others threw their support behind the provision.

During Monday’s hearing, supporters of the bill said last year’s decision to scrap Common Core academic standards means AP history has to go too because the course aligns to those standards.

AP history has also come under recent fire after the course was revised last year in a manner critics say only focuses on the negative aspects of U.S. history.

Moin Nadeem, a junior at Jenks High School, started a petition on change.org Tuesday afternoon in an attempt to sway lawmakers to keep AP in Oklahoma.

Nadeem is taking five AP courses this year, including U.S. history.

He said the courses have improved his study skills, and will better prepare him for college.

“My heart sank,” Nadeem said of the vote. “It’s our right to learn. The state can’t say what we can and what we can’t learn.”

Nadeem wants to get 1,000 signatures on his petition. He had 420 signatures as of 6 p.m. Tuesday.

The House education committee voted along party lines.

Voting yes: Reps. Chad Caldwell, R-Enid; Dennis Casey, R-Morrison; Ann Coody, R-Lawton; Dan Fisher, R-Yukon; John Paul Jordan, R-Yukon; Sally Kern, R-Oklahoma City; Jason Nelson, R-Oklahoma City; Jadine Nollan, R-Sand Springs; Michael Rogers, R-Broken Arrow; Chuck Strohm, R-Jenkins; Todd Thomsen, R-Ada.

Voting no: Reps. Ed Cannaday, D-Porum; Donnie Condit, D-McAlester; Jeannie McDaniel, D-Tulsa; Shane Stone, D-Oklahoma City.

  • Carl

    I’m ashamed of Jadine Nollan. She just lost my vote.