Students in Nebraska are getting new standards for social studies curriculum, after weeks of intense debate. The state Board of Education reached agreement on two items of controversy this week: whether to include “American exceptionalism” and how to teach about climate change, the Lincoln Journal Star reports.
The fight had been over whether to explicitly teach the idea of American exceptionalism, as one board member proposed, and whether to include information about climate change, which the current standards do not mention. The board approved the standards after making some changes:
The words “American exceptionalism” do not appear in the final draft, but the concept does. In the sixth- through eighth-grade U.S. history standards, one of the “indicators” — examples of what to teach — is the “unique nature of the creation and organization of the American Government, the United States as an exceptional nation based upon personal freedom, the inherent nature of citizens’ rights and democratic ideals.”
Likewise, climate change appears in the sixth- through eighth-grade geography standards, but is presented as a theory, not as fact, asking students to evaluate “recent global climate change theories, and evidence that supports and refutes such theories.”