Source: News & Observer
As state Republican legislatures across the country are pushing bans on school curriculum, classroom discussions and book bans, North Carolina’s very own GOP-led General Assembly is attempting to use its political power to influence content taught in local universities.
Last month, state Republicans in the House passed a bill that would require a history course, which has been tailored to their requirements, for graduation from community colleges and universities. If University chancellors and community college presidents fail to implement the GOP-mandated requirement, they could be removed from their role.
“History courses are necessary, but I think politicians need to stay out of our universities,” Jürgen Buchenau, a history professor and director of capitalism studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, told The News & Observer. “They don’t want history to be taught. They want a certain type of history to be taught. They’re not telling us what we need to do in math or chemistry.”
This is not the first time that state Republicans have attempted to undermine educators and designate what North Carolina students can learn.
In the latest legislative session, state Republicans have pushed forth bills that would ban educators from having classroom discussions surrounding race and gender, and would erase Black, brown, and LGBTQ+ voices and stories in the classroom.
“When people without any expertise, but a lot of opinions, try to regulate what happens in colleges and schools, it will lead to educational decline,” stated Dan Aldridge, professor of history and Africana studies at Davidson College.
Earlier this year, the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees unanimously adopted a resolution requesting that the university administration accelerate the development of a School of Civic Life and Leadership. The News & Observer reports that the move has been highly controversial, as it would be a blatant attempt to undermine faculty’s roles in overseeing academics.
Faculty members have been vocal about these decisions being made while they have been left in the dark, sparking questions surrounding whether the board has overstepped its role, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.
“If they didn’t think it was important, they wouldn’t fight so much about it. … They know who gets to be a part of history and who doesn’t get to be part of history is incredibly powerful,” stated Sarah Griffith, a history professor at Queens University of Charlotte. “If we can’t think, if we can’t ask questions, if we can’t be curious, to me that’s a scary place.”
Read more at The News & Observer