NEWS RELEASES 2010-11 :: DECEMBER 2, 2010


Freshmen entering high school for the first time in 2012-13 will be the first students required to pass two U.S. History courses in order to receive a high school diploma under the new Social Studies Standards approved this morning by the State Board of Education. The two required U.S. History courses mean that students will need a minimum of four credits in social studies and 22 credits overall (local districts may require more credits than the state minimum) to graduate.

"Our students cannot become productive citizens without an understanding of the people and events that have shaped our nation and our world," State Superintendent June Atkinson said. "The curriculum that will be taught in our classrooms reflects the importance of these lessons as well as a high level of input from teachers, historians, parents, students and the citizens of this state."

Key elements of the revised K-12 Social Studies Standards include:

  • a study of U.S. History in fifth grade;
  • a study of North Carolina and U.S. History in eighth grade;
  • the integration of financial literacy and environmental literacy throughout the K-12 standards;
  • a continued focus on North Carolina history in fourth grade;
  • a study of world civilizations and societies in sixth and seventh grades with a focus on geography and cultures; and
  • two U.S. History courses at the high school level.

The U.S. History I course will provide a study of European Exploration of the New World through the Reconstruction Era (post Civil War). The U.S. History II course will provide a study of the 19th century to contemporary time. The two-year sequence will give teachers more time to cover the full scope and depth of the course material.

The revised standards also include a stronger focus on financial literacy. State Treasurer and State Board of Education member Janet Cowell has been a strong proponent of financial literacy in the state's social studies curriculum. "It is never too early to start gaining an understanding of how to manage personal finances," said Cowell. "I am proud to be part of a School Board that understands the importance of financial literacy and has approved standards that will provide every North Carolina child with the basic financial skills to achieve personal and financial success."

The newly approved standards are available online at For more information, please contact the NCDPI's Communications division at 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.