According to officials with the North Carolina State Board of Education, the Tar Heel State’s high school children don’t need to learn about the founding of our nation or the Civil War. The Board is proposing changes to the high school history curriculum that will eliminate teaching about any historical events prior to 1877.
The recommended changes are buried amidst a proposal that came out on a state web posting suggesting other curriculum changes. The change document flies under the mysterious acronym of ACRE — Accountability and Curriculum Reform Effort. “All feedback will be read,” screams the document in smallish font. What isn’t immediately clear however is by whom or how it will be used in making final decisions. The online document requested feedback by the extended deadline of March 2.
Rebecca Garland is the chief academic officer for the NC Department of Public Instruction. She was quoted by Fox News on February 3 stating: “We are certainly not trying to go away from American History. What we are trying to do is figure out a way to teach it where students are connected to it, where they see the big idea, where they are able to make conclusions and draw relationships between parts of our history and the present day.”
The big idea? Had George Washington known his actions wouldn’t even be worthy of a footnote in the foundational education of children in one of the original thirteen colonies he might never have crossed the Delaware. Apparently those overseeing the education curriculum for the state’s public schools don’t find such minor historical events as the Revolutionary War or Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation relevant.
Currently NC high school kids are taught U.S. History from the beginning in the eleventh grade. The recommended changes would have freshman taking global studies, sophomores studying civics and economics, and juniors studying U.S. history from 1877 forward. It is not clear how this date was selected by the Department.
But wait, there’s more!
Cut the eggheads in Raleigh a little slack. They don’t want all of history’s lessons lost to the sands of time. They just want to teach them earlier in the kiddies’ education. More U.S. history in the fifth grade is called for in the proposal as is a full year in middle school.
Fifth grade? Most ten year-olds consider their past weekend as ancient history and hardly seem intellectually prepared to analyze and discuss crucial occurrences in the formation of the nation in which they reside.
The story has gone viral and has more than a few parents, educators and even high school kids upset and mobilized. NBC Charlotte, NC affiliate WCNC ran a piece Thursday that featured State Senator, Debbie Clary who said she was “appalled” at the proposed changes. She indicated that while the state legislature does not typically “tinker” with education curriculum, she would be certain they would should this proposal move forward.