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Controversial NC Social Studies Guidelines Strike A Nerve With Public And Officials

North Carolina’s education leaders are still trying to strike a balance on how to address racism and other tough topics in social studies classes. They spent 90 minutes today Wednesday discussing new standards, with a vote coming Thursday.

Members of the state Board of Education say they’ve gotten thousands of emails about proposed new social studies standards just since last week’s special meeting. The debate over how to address racism, oppression and gender identity is clearly striking a nerve.

The new standards — two years and five drafts in the making — call for incorporating more diverse voices and highlighting the struggles of oppressed groups. Some say that brings long overdue balance, while others say it shortchanges American pride.

Board Chair Eric Davis of Charlotte read a letter from an Asheville school media specialist who supports the new standards.

"Our American society, while offering the promise of freedom and justice for all, has also been built upon systemic inequality, from slavery to Jim Crow to school segregation to unequal access to education, housing and generational wealth. We educators see it clearly in our school populations," that person wrote.

Superintendent Catherine Truitt read a letter from a Union County parent who is an East Indian immigrant. The writer described experiencing “hellacious discrimination” but still taking pride in American freedom and capitalism. That writer said the new standards reflect a false emphasis on slavery as the dominant narrative of American history.

"We don’t whitewash history," the Union County writer said, "but we don’t rewrite it, either."

Read entire article at WFAE