Published February 03, 2010
He may be the president who governed during the Civil War, freeing the slaves, but under a new curriculum proposal for North Carolina high schools, U.S. history would begin years after President Lincoln, with the presidency of Rutherford B. Hayes in 1877.
State education leaders say this may help students learn about more recent history in greater depth.
"We are certainly not trying to go away from American history," Rebecca Garland, the chief academic officer for North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, told Fox News. "What we are trying to do is figure out a way to teach it where students are connected to it, where they see the big idea, where they are able to make connections and draw relationships between parts of our history and the present day."
As the North Carolina curriculum stands now, ninth-grade students take world history, 10th-graders study civics and economics and 11th-graders take U.S. history going back to the country's founding.
Under the proposed change, the ninth-graders would take a course called global studies, focusing in part on issues such as the environment. The 10th grade still would study civics and economics, but 11th-graders would take U.S. history only from 1877 onward.
Math, science and English classes are also getting an update.
Critics say the state's decade-old high school curriculum may need an update — but not like this.
"The answer isn't to throw out fundamental portions of U.S. history," said Mike Belter, a U.S. history teacher and social studies director. "This is not preparing our kids to have a deep historical perspective that can be used to analyze modern events for themselves."
Educational policy analyst Terry Stoops agrees.
"I'm all for a global outlook, but it should not be at the expense of American history and learning about American institutions and ideas," he told Fox News.
But those considering the proposal say kids will still learn the basics.
"The students are in school for 13 years," said Garland. "They certainly are taught U.S. and North Carolina history in middle school."
Garland says they're making this curriculum revision process very public to get as much feedback as possible.