NEWS RELEASES 2010-11 :: OCTOBER 11, 2010


The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction today released for review and public comment the second draft of the proposed Social Studies Essential Standards for kindergarten through 12th grade. Included in this second draft is a two-year sequence of US History that will give educators more time to cover the full scope and depth of the course material. The US History 1 course will provide a study of European Exploration of the New World through the Reconstruction Era (post Civil War). The US History 2 course will provide a study of the 19th century to contemporary time. The proposed standards, which also feature courses for World History and Civics and Economics, are now available at

Comment and formal feedback about the draft from the state's local school districts and other individuals and groups will be accepted until Nov. 10, 2010. This feedback will then be considered and used to develop future drafts until a final draft is sent to the State Board of Education for action. To provide a broader review of the new draft standards, State Superintendent June Atkinson has asked several dignitaries - including former NC Supreme Court Justice and current Executive Director of the Institute for Constitutional Law Bob Orr, former NC Supreme Court Chief Justice Henry Frye, former NC Supreme Court Associate Justice Willis P. Whichard, and State Treasurer Janet Cowell - to provide a special review of the proposed Social Studies Essential standards.

"North Carolinians clearly understand how important social studies education is for students and for the development of good citizenship and decision-making skills," said State Superintendent June Atkinson. "I want to thank the many citizens and educators who provided feedback for the first draft of the proposed social studies standards, and I especially thank the special reviewers who have volunteered to provide us with additional reviews. As a result of this careful review and revision process, I am confident that we will have stronger standards that will prepare our students for college and work in the 21st century."

In addition to the two US History courses at the high school level, other key elements of the revised K-12 Social Studies Essential Standards include a study of US History in fifth grade; a study of North Carolina and US History in eighth grade; the integration of financial literacy and environmental literacy throughout the K-12 standards; the continued focus on North Carolina history in fourth grade; and a study of world civilizations and societies in sixth and seventh grades with a focus on geography and cultures.

State Treasurer Janet Cowell praised the new proposed Essential Standards for focusing on financial literacy. "Financial literacy is an important component of a well-rounded education and is an essential tool at all ages. Kindergarten is not too early to help students get a good financial start in adulthood," stated Cowell. "I am pleased that this latest draft of the Essential Standards for Social Studies is also in line with national recommendations for K-12 instruction regarding financial literacy."

The standards documents released for review today provide the framework for the full curriculum materials that teachers use in their classrooms to cover social studies topics in kindergarten through 12th grade.

For more information about the proposed Draft 2.0 of the Social Studies Essential Standards, please contact the NC Department of Public Instruction's Communications office, 919.807.3450.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 160 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.