Local News

Superintendent: Plan would mean more history for N.C. students

Posted February 11, 2010 4:25 p.m. EST

— A proposal to revise the social studies curriculum taught in North Carolina public schools would mean more, not less, time spent studying the history of the United States, State Superintendent June Atkinson said Thursday.

Critics of the proposal say it would not offer students enough of a background of the early years of the country, up to and including the Civil War.

Under the proposal's first draft, 11th graders would study U.S. history from 1877 to the present so more time could be given to recent historical events, such as the Vietnam War and the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Our goal is to give students more study of United States history and to teach it in a way that helps them remember what they have learned,” Atkinson said.

“Students would have United States history three times before high school, and in high school they would have at least two more courses.”

The state Department of Public Instruction argues that students would learn about slavery and other pre-Reconstruction issues in the required civics and economics classes offered in elementary and middle school. The proposal would also add U.S. history at the elementary and middle school levels, Atkinson said.

DPI is receiving feedback on the proposal, which is slated for several rounds of revision.

A second draft of the proposal should be ready for the state Board of Education to review next month. It could be a year before a new curriculum is finalized, and any changes would not go into effect until 2013 or later.