Educational Policy Developments in North Carolina and its Impact on African American Students

  • Howard Menand University of North Carolina at Charlotte


The 2012-13 school year presents North Carolina with a multitude of policy changes that will transform the educational opportunities for the state’s public school students. These reforms include the adoption of the Common Core State Standards, modifications to the state testing model, alterations to the requirements of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), and the implementation of the federal grant known as Race to the Top initiative (RttT). From an initial review of these reforms, it is clear that the recently implemented policies are designed to prepare students for the demands of the knowledge economy, which necessitates a combination of soft skills (i.e. critical thinking and problem solving) and hard skills (i.e. science and technology). However, within the reform context of NCLB, a reform initially supported by African American leaders even though it eventually equated to a significant emphasis on accountability and a narrowed curriculum for African American students, educators must critically analyze the recent policy changes in order to ensure that they effectively meet the academic needs of all students, including African American students. Therefore, this policy brief utilizes a post-NCLB framework to both critically analyze the recent reform measures in North Carolina in relation to African American students and to provide recommendations for an inclusive approach to education reform.

Author Biography

Howard Menand, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Howard Menand is currently a doctoral student in Curriculum and Instruction Urban Education Strand at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Additionally, Menand works as an assistant principal in the public school setting of Charlotte, NC. His research interests address the impact of globalization on education within the urban setting, which includes understanding the connection between globalization and the immigrant education experience in public schools. Finally, Menand is in the process completing his dissertation—an examination of globalization’s influence on the 21st century instructional practices of urban teachers.