Up & Coming Weekly

July 13, 2021

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 5 of 24

WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM JULY 14-20, 2021 UCW 5 OPINION If the primary purpose of public education was to prepare young people for jobs, its entitlement to tax- payer support would be far weaker. I don't say that because preparing young people for employment is unimportant. It is of great importance. Precisely because effective education and training would boost the future incomes of students, however, private money would flow into the enterprise — from parents, future employers, and (in later grades) the stu- dents themselves. ey'd all get direct economic returns on their investments. Governments would subsidize the schooling of the poor, to be sure, as a kind of safety net. But that wouldn't necessarily lead to universal provision or subsidy of public education. Its primary purpose is really about culture, not economics. It is to produce future citizens who are inclined to self-government, and capable of it. When voting or otherwise participating in repre- sentative government, citizens should possess enough general knowledge to ask informed questions and cast informed ballots. And when engaged in direct democracy — voting on ballot referenda, for example, or attending a town meeting — an informed citizenry is even more critical. "Educate and inform the whole mass of the people," omas Jefferson famously wrote. "ey are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty." Educating young people for citizenship means imparting a broad knowledge of diverse subjects. ey should be able to read and consider news and informa- tion. ey should possess a working grasp of math and science. And perhaps most importantly, they should know their country's history and understand the civic institutions in which they will participate. Alas, when it comes to history and civics education, North Carolina seems determined to blow it. As my John Locke Foundation colleague Terry Stoops recently explained, state officials began a revision of North Carolina's social-studies standards in 2019. Over the next year, the process devolved into a politicized mess, producing standards that are heavy on leftist nomencla- ture and light on specificity, rigor and balance. A national group called the omas B. Fordham Institute noticed. In a newly released report evaluat- ing history and civics standards across all 50 states, Fordham placed North Carolina near the bottom of the list, with a D minus for our new civics standards and an F in history. "North Carolina's new civics and U.S. History stan- dards are inadequate," the report states. "Nebulous verbiage and an aversion to specifics make them func- tionally contentless in many places, and organization is poor throughout. A complete revision is recommended before implementation." Naturally, defenders of the new standards will cry foul, given the Fordham Institute's past advocacy of standards-based reform and school choice. is is not about partisan politics or disagreements about educa- tion policy, however. Here are the five states Fordham put at the top of its list: Alabama, California, Massachu- setts, Tennessee, and New York. ere's no "red state vs. blue state" pattern here, just as there is no such pattern among the 10 receiving F-grades in both categories. Although North Carolina just missed dropping into that bottom tier, it has the worst history and civics stan- dards in the Southeast. Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia, Florida, South Carolina, and Mississippi all got "exem- plary" or "good" ratings. How can state policymakers rectify this mistake? Stoops urges an immediate halt to the implementa- tion of new standards pending a complete rewrite. e Fordham Institute team has offered specific recommen- dations to improve the standards. In civics, for example, the state should lay out in detail what students should learn about such essential topics as the separation of powers, judicial review, the rule of law, and the electoral process. Fordham also offered thoughtful ways of align- ing the civics and history standards with each other. North Carolina should "articulate what students should know instead of asking them to 'exemplify,' 'critique,' 'distinguish,' 'differentiate,' 'compare,' 'assess,' or 'classify' massive bodies of unspecified content that cannot or should not be handled in those ways," the report concludes. In this case, where Tennessee and California lead, North Carolina should follow. State blows it on history by JOHN HOOD F&B Publications is looking for a Managing Editor to lead the production of Up & Coming Weekly and oversee Women's View and Kidsville News! We are looking for someone with: -writing and editing experience -technical (AP, Adobe InDesign) and leadership skills -ability to collaborate with a variety of teams Interested? Send your resume and three writing samples to april@upandcomingweekly.com POCKET GUIDE "Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it." --Thomas Jeerson, 1786. JOHN HOOD, Chairman of the John Locke Foundation. Contributing Writer. COMMENTS? Editor@upand- comingweekly.com. 910-484-6200

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