Kudos to my friend Terry Stoops of the John Locke Foundation. Terry has been one of the few critics of the draft social studies standards being developed by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. See news report, here.
Once again DPI seems to favor the “salad bowl” approach to developing standards. While the new standards include lots of important concepts, they also rob students of the opportunity to learn historical context, a prerequisite for fostering a real understanding of history. Inexplicably, the standards remove the study of American history prior to 1877. Proponents say the Constitution and the founding documents are taught. However, shoehorning the teaching of the U.S. Constitution into a class that also teaches civics and economics robs the subject of the importance it deserves. Proponents also say Americans need to have an understanding of their place in the world. Doesn’t that question presuppose an understanding of what America is? The early history of this country and the founding documents answer that question. They have also been “window” through which America history is viewed. Sadly, the new standards attempt to remove that window There is one good thing about the standards: they are still in draft form. DPI is encouraging public comment. Be a good citizen and read the documents and share your thoughts. DPI is taking comments until February 15th.