NC Public Schools Adopt New Standards To Discuss Racism

North Carolina is reportedly adopting news social studies standards that supporters say are more inclusive of different groups and teach a more accurate version of American history.

The State Board of Education’s Democratic majority voted on Thursday (February 4) 7-5 in favor of the new K-12 standards that include having teachers discuss racism, discrimination and the perspectives of marginalized groups, according to The News Observer. The plan will go into effect this fall and will guide teachers in discussions about America’s accomplishments and failure.

“Our children of this great state deserve nothing but the true, honest and best education that we can provide,” board member Donna Tipton-Rogers said during Wednesday’s discussion, the Observer writes. “As I said earlier, history is the study of change, and by adopting these new social studies standards, we are embracing the essence of what makes the study of history useful and our nation great. To include racism, identity and discrimination is what we should do.”

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All Republican members of the board voted against the new standards, claiming they are anti-American, anti-capitalist and anti-democratic. GOP Lt. Governor Mark Robinson, who is Black, pointed to an online petition with over 30,000 signatures calling for a no-vote on the measure.

“Moving forward with this is irresponsible,” Robinson said at the Thursday meeting. “We need to go back to the drawing board.”

The words “systemic racism,” “systemic discrimination” and “gender identity” were unsuccessfully made a part of the new standards.

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Board members, however, pointed out the importance of teaching students about the horrors of the nation, as well as the good. In the preamble, State Superintendent Catherine Truitt (R) falls to the left of center, arguing that the state’s social studies lessons should teach about the nation’s diversity, notes The Washington Post.

“This means teaching the hard truths of Native American oppression, anti-Catholicism, exploitation of child labor, and Jim Crow to name a few,” the Post writes, citing the preamble “while simultaneously teaching that the US Constitution created the world’s first organized democracy since ancient Rome and that than 90 years into our country’s history, President Lincoln ended the United States’ participation in what had been more than 9,000 years of legalized slavery and human bondage in most parts of the world.”

To read more about North Carolina social studies’ new standards, click here.

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