by Dr. Terry Stoops
Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
In December, I wrote about my concerns with the revised standards for the American history course. A few days ago, N.C. Department of Public Instruction (DPI) staff responded to some of those concerns.
DPI staff contend that the standards are “conceptually-written or broadly stated to focus on concepts and transferable ideas…such as leadership, conflict resolution, movement, values, environmental challenges, justice, and other concepts.” I think this is a mistake because it does not guarantee that teachers will address topics and facts. In fact, it discourages the teaching of topics and facts by making them optional.
I’m surprised that DPI would produce an FAQ on the standards now, rather than after the conclusion of the public comment period for the first draft. After all, the comment period does not end for another three weeks.
More importantly, the FAQ is mostly a defense of the standards as presented in the first draft. Does this mean that standards writers already have dismissed public input and their legitimate concerns, such as the failure to include topics and facts, well before the conclusion of the public comment period?