Hotly debated new social studies curriculum passes, will include topics of racism, discrimination, gender

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- The North Carolina Board of Education voted 7-5 during a Thursday meeting to approve the hotly debated social studies curriculum for kindergarten through 12th grade.

The use of language has been at the center of debate since its inception in January, with people in support of the new standards calling them "inclusive" and a better contextual view of American history, while those in opposition called it "divisive" and "anti-American."

In support of the new standards was Chairman Eric Davis, Vice Chairman Alan Duncan, Reginald Kenan, Jill Camnitz, Donna Tipton- Rogers, J. Wendell Hall and James Ford. While in opposition was Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson, State Treasurer Dale Fowell, Olivia Oxendine, Amy White and Todd Chasteen.

The board's ultimate decision was a compromise that changed the previous standards but did not go as far as some Democratic members said it should. The compromise did not include the words "systemic racism," "systemic discrimination" or "gender identity" in the new curriculum.

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The North Carolina Board of Education voted 7-5 during a Thursday meeting to approve the new curriculum for kindergarten through 12th grade.

Out of the members in opposition, the state's first Black Lieutenant Governor, Mark Robinson, a Conservative Republican has been the most vocal calling the teachings "anti-American" and "divisive". A statement that later drew criticism from the North Carolina NAACP president who says addressing systemic racism would expose children to the truth.

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Learn more about seven terms commonly used when discussing racism and racial injustice like systemic racism, white privilege, institutional racism, microaggression and white fragility.

Robinson said in the past four days an online petition has received over 30,000 signatures from people opposed to the new standards. Robinson urged fellow board members to take the standards back to the drawing board--despite the current standards being developed over a 2-year period that included multiple new drafts, revisions, and delays.

"They have serious concerns about these standards. Moving forward with this is irresponsible; we need to go back to the drawing board," said Robinson. "We see it now. We see what a hot topic it is. What a divisive issue it is. It's still divisive with us."

The ongoing battle in the education system is not unique to North Carolina, other states including Arkansas, Iowa and Mississippi. Many Republicans have also echoed comments similar to Robinson's.
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