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Is Politics “History” or is “History” Nothing but Politics?

February 23, 2015

The legislature had been in session for three weeks before the school funding issue, a truly bi-partisan bill, made it out of committee. Whether it will reach a vote in the full house is another matter. Facing a 611 Million Dollars shortfall in revenues projected for the 2015-2016 budget
(verified by Oklahoma Board of Equalization) and a Republican rejection of any tax increase or tax reform, it is unlikely this issue will be voted upon. If passed, repairs to school funding will still take 10 years in order to reach a required level to provide a safe and up-to-date Pre K-12 education. Meanwhile, our school districts are literally starved for adequate funds to properly operate.
Adding “insult to injury,” a legislator has now brought forward an ill-conceived bill to ban Advance Placement in U.S. History (APUSH) courses in Oklahoma’s high schools. The reasoning of the author of House Bill 1380 is that AP courses run parallel to the Common Core Program which was rejected during the waning hours of last year’s legislative session. The question is, “Who is afraid that our students will learn of our nation’s actual history instead of the rewritten or omitted histories presented in some of our current textbooks?” To allow our students a factual, well-rounded and historically correct education should be Oklahoma’s standard. If this bill becomes law, what Advance Placement course will be the next to fall to political ideology?
Now, because of public reaction to the bill’s wording, the author of HB 1380 has stated he intends to “revise some of the wording” to insure that his “intentions only pertain to U.S. History.”
My question is why is there so much opposition from the Republican Party, in Oklahoma and other states with Republican controlled state governments, to teaching how America’s history really developed? Our country’s history is not all “roses and lace” The U.S.A. was founded upon a revolution. The new government was controlled by men who believed that a segment of our citizenry was only worth three-fifths of a vote and that only “landed gentry” were sufficiently educated and/or intelligent enough to vote or hold public office.
Current attempts to re-write history in the rosiest way possible are one of the first steps to monarchial government. It is apparent that the states that are preparing, or are already using, identical legislation have strong relations with American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) – the same powerhouse that has given us overburdened prisons, for-profit education, lax financial regulations and unsustainable tax giveaways.
Citizen participation in opposition to the proposed HB 1380 shows the power of actively voicing our concerns. It is critical that our citizens’ voices continue to cry out against ANY ban of ANY Advanced Placement courses in our schools!
Two other bills presented to committee last week (Senate Bill 609 and House Bill 2003) are designed to create a voucher program entitled “Education Savings Accounts” (ESA) with little or no accountability.
Because these bills were formulated by the aforementioned ALEC in other states and are replicated here, we have a “golden opportunity” to review the problems of this voucher system.
As reported by okeducationtruths, these ESA bills would:
1. Reduce the already limited amount of resources available to public schools and threaten to exacerbate current teacher shortages;
2. Not have a built-in component to ensure that student participants receive rigorous or well-rounded educations;
3. Cause the Oklahoma State Department of Education and/or State Treasurer to hire investigators and auditors to review and audit private decisions of parents — allowing for government intrusion into private family matters; and
4. Is NOT revenue neutral. In both Florida and Arizona, students were able to apply for an ESA though they had never attended public school in those states.
Politico’s February 2015 report on Education Saving Accounts listed costs for Florida’s ESA at $18.4 MILLION and Arizona’s at $16.3 MILLION.
With today’s failed current funding of Oklahoma’s education system, and the already acknowledged $6ll MILLION budget shortfall, how can our legislators justify “digging a deeper financial hole” for Oklahoma with an ESA? Financial success with such a program is a fantasy !!
Every person who supports our public schools needs to become involved to keep our public school funds in our public schools!!


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One Comment
  1. Great article thanks for sharing your insight

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