By Associated Press - Thursday, January 28, 2021

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Republican members of the State Board of Education charged at a meeting that proposed social studies standards are “anti-American” and will teach North Carolina public school students that the nation is oppressive and racist.

The board on Wednesday reviewed new K-12 social studies standards that would have teachers discuss racism, discrimination and the perspectives of marginalized groups, The News & Observer of Raleigh reported. Several GOP board members argued that the new standards are divisive and have a leftist political agenda.

Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, a Republican, noted how he’s the state’s first Black lieutenant governor and that the U.S. previously had elected a Black president. He said the standards would inaccurately teach that the nation is a racist.

“The system of government that we have in this nation is not systematically racist,” Robinson said. “In fact, it is not racist at all.”

State board member Amy White said North Carolina social studies teachers should be telling students that America is the greatest nation on Earth. She blamed the news media for promoting an anti-American viewpoint.

“While I think some of the revisions have been helpful, I still see an agenda that is anti-American, anti-capitalism, anti-democracy,” said White, who was appointed by former GOP Gov. Pat McCrory. She is a former social studies teacher.

Board members appointed by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and the board’s advisors were more supportive of the new standards. The state board is scheduled to vote on the standards next week.

“By having these standards, that means that every one of our kids in every classroom in North Carolina is going to get the same standardized social studies education with those multiple viewpoints and those multiple perspectives included,” said Maureen Stover, a board advisor and 2020 North Carolina Teacher of the Year.

Stover, who teaches in Cumberland County, was named Wednesday one of four finalists for National Teacher of the Year. The winner will be announced in the spring.

The state board periodically reviews and revises the standards used in different subjects. North Carolina is consolidating U.S. history in high school from two courses into one class to make room for a new personal finance course required by state lawmakers.

The latest standards have gone through multiple drafts, including an earlier one that would have had third-grade students study how monuments such as Confederate statues are valued by their community.

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