By Heide Brandes and Jon Herskovitz OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - Oklahoma lawmakers are trying to block funding for Advanced Placement U.S. history courses, saying the curriculum is not patriotic enough, as they aim to join others in halting a program designed to prepare top students for college. A new framework for the course introduced in 2012 has sparked controversy. Cultural conservatives blast the changes they see as questioning American exceptionalism, while supporters say the course offers students a balanced way to analyze how American history has unfolded. This week, a bill to cut funding for Advanced Placement U.S. History courses in the state passed an Oklahoma House committee along party lines, with 11 Republican voting for the measure and 4 Democrats opposed. "We don't want our tax dollars going to a test that undermines our history," Dan Fisher, a Republican lawmaker who authored the bill, said during committee debate. Nearly 4,000 colleges and universities allow those who meet a certain score on AP tests to be given college credit. The tests, which cover a wide array of subjects, are also seen as advancing academic achievement and can help those who qualify for AP courses to be looked on favorably by college admissions boards. Opponents say the revised guidelines for the history course cast the United States in a harsh light by giving undue emphasis to topics such as slavery and the treatment of Native Americans, while distorting events such as the U.S. involvement in World War Two. Last year, the Republican National Committee passed a resolution calling on the College Board, which administers the test, to revise the curriculum. The party said it sees the framework as a "radically revisionist view of American history that emphasizes negative aspects of our nation's history." In September, the Texas State Board of Education, which is dominated by Republicans, requested the College Board to rewrite the AP U.S. history curriculum. In Colorado, hundreds of students walked out of class to protest a move by conservative school board members proposed changing the U.S. history course. Officials for the College Board said the framework, which has yet to be implemented, has the overwhelming support of AP U.S. History teachers and college-level U.S. history professors. "This debate, and the resolution itself, has been marred by misinformation. The redesigned AP U.S. History course framework includes many inspiring examples of American exceptionalism," said Trevor Packer, a senior vice president for Advanced Placement and instruction. (Writing by Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)
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