Summary of the Standards – On February 4, 2021, the North Carolina State Board of Education approved new social studies standards for all students in kindergarten through 12th grades. However, the process to approve the new standards began in April 2019 when the state Board elected to begin the standards revision for social studies coupled with a realignment of social studies courses at the high school level.
Graduation requirements for students starting ninth grade in 2021 will include one American history course instead of two, making room for a new course in economics and personal finance as directed by the legislature. World history and civic literacy courses will remain requirements.
Per State Board of Education policy SCOS-012, the revision process is feedback-based, research-informed, improvement-oriented, and process-driven.
From the state Department of Public Instruction’s (DPI) K-12 Social Studies listserv, emails were sent in April 2019 statewide to all public school educators and superintendents requesting assistance by application with drafting the new standards. Bladen County Schools had teachers that participated in the writing process from both the middle and high school levels. The email request from DPI was also shared with the entire Bladen County Schools staff as an invitation to provide feedback.
The application for the K-12 Social Studies Standard Course of Study Revision process was for educators, educational leaders, and stakeholders who wanted to be on either the K-12 Social Studies Standard Course of Study Writing Team or Review Team. The Social Studies Standard Course of Study Writing and Review Teams met periodically throughout the 2019-2020 school year to discuss the current Social Studies Standard Course of Study and draft recommendations for revision.
In August 2019, a request from the state DPI to obtain input via a survey from educators and stakeholders familiar with the K-12 Social Studies Standard Course of Study was widely publicized on news outlets statewide. The survey sought to inform revision decisions, which included changes, clarifications, additions, deletions, or replacements to the current standards. The initial feedback survey was open the entire month of August 2019. The feedback/comment portal is HERE. This page includes links to all the past revisions.
From September 2019 to May 2020, the state had processed revisions to three drafts. The surveys, which were open for 103 days received over 7,000 responses from throughout the state.
By November of 2020, DPI released its fourth draft of the standards, again requesting public feedback. The comment period closed on December 4, 2020. In January 2021 the state Board of Education met in a special called meeting to review any changes ahead of a vote on the standards in February. At the meeting, DPI’s Social Studies Section Chief Dr. Lori Carlin reported that a public survey on Draft 4 of the standards had received 85% favorable responses. Standards must be approved in February because of revision guidelines outlined in state law. Approval in February would mean the standards would be adopted for use in the 2021-2022 school year. The implementation timeline is HERE.
“Districts must implement the standards,” said Deanna Townsend-Smith, the state board’s director of Board Operations and Policy. “Standards adoption in any subject is the bare minimum to ensure a sound basic education and has an impact in a variety of areas such as graduation, assessments, etc.”
Standards in any content area are meant to serve as a framework for the curriculum that will be taught. Each district will choose curated resources or develop its own curriculum that aligns with the standards. The state DPI does not endorse, choose or recommend any one particular set of curriculum and supporting materials.
The current social studies standards can be found HERE.
Key revisions (found below) that were made to the final draft of the standards revolve around systemic racism, gender identity, and systemic discrimination and the removal of two words – systemic and gender – with the intent of making the standards more inclusive of historically marginalized voices. Overall, students will continue to study the same topics they’re already learning now in social studies, but through a wider lens and broader audience.
- Systemic racism – 1 time in American History (replaced with racism)
AH.C&G.1.4 Explain how systemic racism, oppression, and discrimination of indigenous peoples, racial minorities, and other marginalized groups have impacted equality and power in America.
- Gender Identity – 3 times in Civic Literacy & 1 time in 8th grade (replaced with identity)
CL.C&G.4.6 Critique the extent to which women, indigenous, religious, racial, gender identity, and ability groups have had access to justice as established in the founding principles of government.
CL.H.1.2 Compare competing narratives of the historical development of the United States and North Carolina in terms of how each depicts race, women, tribes, gender identity, ability, and religious groups.
CL.H.1.3 Interpret historical and current perspectives on the evolution of individual rights in America over time, including women, tribal, racial, religious, gender identity, and ability.
8.C&G.1.5 Compare access to democratic rights and freedoms of various indigenous, religious, gender, gender identity, and racial groups in North Carolina and the nation.
- Systemic discrimination – 1 time in Civic Literacy (replaced with discrimination)
CL.H.1.6 Exemplify ways individuals have demonstrated resistance and resilience to inequities, injustice, and systemic discrimination within the American system of government over time.
North Carolina State Superintendent Catherine Truitt has been cited as saying, “The North Carolina Board of Education believes that our collective social studies standards must reflect the nation’s diversity and that the successes, contributions, and struggles of multiple groups and individuals should be included.”