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State education board approves new teaching standards with focus on diversity

North Carolina Board of Education
North Carolina Board of Education(dpi.nc.gov & AP Newsroom)
Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 9:33 PM EDT
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WITN) - Students in K-5 social studies classes may learn history in a more diverse and inclusive way this fall.

The North Carolina Board of Education voted Thursday to pass new standards for social studies teachers that encourage a focus on race, women and several other topics that are often overlooked.

“We sometimes don’t want to speak about the bad parts of our country. But to me, being a true patriot is seeing the difficult parts of our past and striving to get better and to move forward as a country that is more united and has opportunities for everyone,” said Lauren Piner, a social studies teacher and member of the NC Social Studies Council.

The vote passed changes to the K-12 social studies glossary and K-5 unpacking documents, among other items.

Some board members voiced concerns that the changes were “anti-American” or not expansive enough.

“I cannot for the life of me understand how, in this particular standard within the unpacking documents, how we missed Sandra Day O’Connor, the first female to serve on the US Supreme Court,” said one member, Olivia Oxendine, before the vote.

The guidelines, approved Thursday, are recommended but not required.

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