By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
RALEIGH — It is rare when an organization raises the ire of conservatives and liberals; blue collar workers and business executives; not to mention university professors and soccer moms. But the Department of Public Instruction seems to have managed to do so with proposed curriculum standards that would cut more than two centuries of the nation’s history out of high school coursework. What remains to be seen is whether the furor that has generated hundreds of phone calls and e-mails and a 4,500-member facebook group (History Did Not Begin in 1877) will be a flash in the pan or a lasting movement to truly influence what happens in the classroom.
“A week ago when we reported on this we urged Christians in North Carolina to take action by sending DPI their constructive criticism and also by staying involved in the process as future drafts of the plan are released,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “But we can’t stop with the history curriculum. We need to monitor the public schools’ Web site as each proposed set of standards is released and truly understand what our children are being taught or at least what is proposed at this point.”
The North Carolina Family Policy Council issued an alert earlier this month challenging proposed curriculum that compares Roe v. Wade — the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion on demand — to court actions on segregation and ethnic discrimination, those that had roles in upholding individual liberties “against oppressive government.”
“For the state agency that is responsible for providing curricula to educate our children to suggest that opposition to abortion is wrong, and akin to opposition to civil rights is unconscionable…” said Bill Brooks, president of the North Carolina Family Policy Council in the Council’s report. “Not only is there no factual basis for this assertion, but it grossly misrepresents the historical truth of events leading up to the Roe v. Wade decision.”
The reference to Roe v. Wade is in the proposed standards for Civics and Economics class, one of several courses listed under Social Studies in the Accountability and Curriculum Reform Effort’s first draft documents now posted on the Department of Public Instruction Web site. DPI says its writing teams are requesting feedback from LEAs (local education agencies) and that the deadline for accepting those responses has been extended from Monday, Feb. 15, to Tuesday, March 2.
In addition to suggested Social Studies standards from K-2 to high school, visitors to the Web site can view proposed standards for English Language Arts, Occupational Course of Study, Second (Foreign) Languages and Healthful Living, including new sex education standards approved by the Legislature last session.
“Parents, especially those of middle and high school students, should survey these standards as their first sampling of what their children will be taught in sexual education,” said the Rev. Creech. “They’ll see, as the new law requires, an introduction to FDA approved contraceptives, among other less specific standards.”
“And these are just the outline. Even if parents don’t express any concerns to DPI now, they should certainly be ready to contact their local school systems for a look at specific curriculum to see exactly what their children will be taught and opt them out of any objectionable instruction.”
Coming soon, according to the site, are standards for Guidance, Dance and Music Arts Education.
Take Christian Action: To get a look at the first draft of essential standards, as proposed by ACRE (Accountability and Curriculum Reform Effort), log on to www.ncpublicschools.org/acre/standards/phase2/. To offer feedback, click on firstname.lastname@example.org.