George Washington. Abraham Lincoln. Important figures in history, right? Not for North Carolina high schoolers, if the state gets its way.
The Tar Heel State is currenty working to change their curriculum and one of the proposed ideas, which is currently under review, is to start American History in 1877, after Reconstruction. This means students won’t learn about the Founding Fathers, Abraham Lincoln, the freeing of slaves, and the Civil War, among other important parts of the nation’s beginning. Many teachers and parents, and even education experts are unhappy with the proposed changes.
“If our students don’t know what happened in world history, and if they don’t know what happened in U.S. history from George Washington’s presidency all the way up through the Civil War, then they will not be able to grasp the big picture,” said Mike Belter, a North Carolina Social Studies teacher, tells Fox News.
The current curriculum has high school students in the state learning three years of history and similar subjects; in ninth grade, they study world history, in tenth grade, they study civics and economics, and in eleventh grade, they study United States history in its entirety. While officials admit the changes are on the drastic side, they also insist it’s the best way to help children connect to the modern world and that children will not graduate without learning about the United States’ early years, as they learn about them in elementary and middle school.
Rebecca Garland of the North Carolina Department of Pubic Instruction told Fox News, “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 connections and draw relationships between parts of our history and the present day so the students who see it as relevant.”
The move is part of an effort to connect with Common Core standards. Common Core is a “state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers…committed to developing a common core of state standards in English-language arts and mathematics for grades K-12.” Also, state officials say they are very interested in hearing what teachers and the public have to say and welcome as much feedback as possible. So far, it seems that most of the response has been negative.
The controversial response is certainly understandable. Many people feel that one major problem with today’s youth is that they do not understand what makes our country so great. They take so much for granted, they have no interest in any form of patriotism, and they don’t understand what makes our country unique. The state argues that American history is taught during the earlier school years, but by eleventh grade, students are capable of learning on a different level and taking a more in depth look at subjects than they were in kindergarten through eighth grade.
The changes wouldn’t just affect American history. There are drastic changes threatening other subjects, including math, science and English. As a matter of fact, the ninth grade World History class will no longer be taught, but instead, students will take a class called “Global Issues,” which focuses on more modern issues such as the environment. While I can’t be certain, modern studies on the environment tend to be about “global warming” and “climate change.” That, alone, tells me this proposed education system has less to do with time restraints and a desire to make children work and college-ready, and more to do with a higher agenda.