Advanced Placement history courses are rigorous educational opportunities available for high school students who can earn college level credits for taking them. They are certified by the College Board, a private organization, which also oversees their final examinations. Local school districts are not required to teach Advanced Placement courses, however most college and university admissions offices tend to favor student applications that include successfully passing such courses in high school.
This all seems pretty good to me, but a statist Oklahoma lawmaker wants Advanced Placement courses banned in his state because he thinks they omit emphasizing what he calls “American exceptionalism.” House bill 1380, introduced by Republican State Rep. Dan Fisher, cuts off funding for the courses because, in his opinion, they focus on "what is bad about America."
A Tulsa Oklahoma newspaper editorial opines that the courses allow smart high school students to study at a college level, and that the history courses teach the "full range of American history: the good, the bad and the exceptional… It's not a secret left-wing plot to inculcate American youth with seditious ideas, just a hard class for bright kids."
I have some news for Rep. Fisher: There is a lot of history about America that is plenty bad indeed, and for which all Americans should be rightfully ashamed. But history is history; facts are facts; and students should be taught the good, the bad and the ugly about the United States of America. There are plenty of good facts about American history for which Americans should be proud. No proper history course should gloss over the bad stuff and teach only the good.
History is not about opinions. There is plenty of room in high school curriculum's to teach about opinions outside of history courses. Why not let the bright students take the courses and then come to their own conclusions about whether America is exceptional.
American exceptionalism is an opinion; not a fact.