David N. Bass
A task force assembled by Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson designed to give a voice to parents and students in identifying political bias in public school classrooms released its first report on Tuesday.
In March, Robinson established a task force on political indoctrination in public school classrooms known as F.A.C.T.S., standing for Fairness and Accountability in the Classroom for Teachers and Students. The task force’s first report documented over 500 submissions from parents across the state.
“Our task force set about to answer one question: Is there indoctrination happening in our public schools. After doing this report and after doing this task force, the overwhelming answer is yes, it is,” said Robinson during a press conference on August 24.
“This is not an attack on educators or education,” Robinson added. “This is an attempt to stop the abuse of the teaching profession by a few who are using that profession to put undue pressure on young minds to accept their way of thinking.”
Robinson pointed to two specific examples to demonstrate instances of bias in the classroom. The first is a book called “George” given to fourth-grade students in which the character questions his sexual identity and talks about removing his genitalia. The second example is of the Governor’s School where students are compelled to answer questions about their sexuality.
The majority of people who submitted their accounts asked not to be identified for fear of losing their jobs as teachers or counselors. Others, from parents or family members, expressed concern that their children would be penalized for revealing the actions of their teachers. One parent reported to the task force that both children’s teachers were using biased instruction and commentary.
“My child’s freshman history class was told that if “you were white and Christian, you should be
ashamed,” the parent reported. “My child’s junior history class was told that “it is possible that some Republicans could be good people.”
Included in the report and its summary is examples submitted from across the state with approximately 20% of submissions coming from Wake County.
“That does have anything to do with education,” said Robinson, a Republican and the first black man to hold the lieutenant governor’s position in the state’s history. “That is not the road we need to be on.”
Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt also spoke at the press conference and emphasized that no student should be marginalized for their race, beliefs, or background.
“No student should ever feel marginalized. No student should feel anxious about his or her place in school,” Truitt said.
The report found six overarching themes:
- Fear of retaliation: “Teachers, parents, and students across the state are afraid to report indoctrination, or speak up in their communities, out of fear they will lose their jobs or face mistreatment when pushing back against indoctrination, bias, or a lack of freedom of inquiry and freedom of speech in the classroom.”
- The sexualization of kids: “There have been numerous reports of LGBTQ, ‘transgender,’ and sexualization agendas being pushed by books found in school libraries all over the state. In response, many parents are deciding to homeschool their children to remove them from this environment of overt sexualization.”
- Critical Race Theory: “A website, Learning for Justice Club, provides NC teachers with over 6,000 CRT resources which find their way into the school system but are not state-supported or approved resources. Additionally, books that are required reading for students dwell excessively on race, which diminishes the overall quality of the learning environment.”
- White shaming: “Students who are members of racial minorities or other ‘identity groups’ across the state have been given authority by teachers to shame white students for being ‘racist oppressors.’
- Biased news media and/or lesson plans: “Students across the state are being assigned to conduct independent research from biased news outlets and are graded on their evaluation of this media. Many instructors mandate which news outlets students must view, and, in some instances, teachers require the utilization of a single, partisan news outlet.”
- Shaming of certain political beliefs: “Teachers, parents, and students across the state have reported how the political agenda in many schools is one-sided. Teachers are allowed and even encouraged, to display [Black Lives Matter] decorations on their doors and to promote “Blue Lives Murder,” while apparel that is pro-police is not allowed. Additionally, students are being encouraged to kneel during the National Anthem by having to write essays on the topic.”
“This report signals the beginning of a transformative moment in the history of North Carolina public schools,” said Dr. Terry Stoops, director of the Center for Effective Education at the John Locke Foundation and also a member of the F.A.C.T.S. task force. “Seldom have so many parents been so focused on assessing the quality and relevance of the day-to-day educational activities of their children.”
“This report should be required reading for anyone doubting the presence of critical race theory and social justice claptrap in North Carolina public schools,” Stoops added. “While the submissions are not indicative of the scope of the problem, it is undeniable there is a problem. I suspect that subsequent task force reports will add critical context to an issue of tremendous importance to families across the state.”