Next week, North Carolina State Board of Education is scheduled to vote on new standards when it comes to American History classes.
James Ford is on the board and says this is the perfect time to come up with new standards that will guide teachers. Teachers from around the state are coming up with the standards that include eras, content, and concepts that teachers must use when instructing students.
“It’s not debatable that history is taught at the perspective of those who write it,” Ford said. “And overwhelmingly it’s been white middle class European outlooks and world view, and it hasn’t incorporated the perspective of African Americans, Latin Americans, Asian folk, Native folk and our histories are important too.”
Current events show confederate monuments are being removed and the confederate flag being removed from the state capitol in Mississippi during the country’s civil unrest.
History is getting rewritten. Ford believes that rewrite should have a place in the classrooms. He says that will make a difference.
“You’d be better interpreters of current events,” Ford said. “But when you’re not not taught these things – the reverse happens. You fill those vacuums with very toxic and inaccurate assumptions about people so that’s what we don’t want to happen.”
The new set of standards could be taught in the classrooms as early as this upcoming school year. Standards for World History could come in the 2021-2022 school year.
Ford says there are people who argue the current standards are okay, but there are others who think the standards need a revision so it can be more inclusive. Ford is a former history teacher in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools and can tell you where some things have been forgotten.
“I don’t see where – like I mentioned – where Black Wall Street would show up in the standards,” Ford said. “I don’t see where Stonewall Rebellion would show up in the standard, and those are the types of questions and concerns I think that really strike at the heart of the issue.”
Ford says he is looking for a well rounded set of new standards to be presented. He says there is a sense of urgency to complete this assignment.
“If it meets our level of approval then we’ll approve them,” Ford said. “If not we just may have to revisit some things. We got to make sure we get this right because folks are hungry now more than ever.”
When the standards are approved – it will be up to the teachers to follow the set of standards. Ford expects teachers to embrace the new standards and give students the full story when it comes to their history lessons.
“I just got to know personally that some of these issues are going to get touched on,” Ford said. “And they can’t be brushed aside or kind of glossed over.”
NC State Board of Education meets July 8-9.