Exclusive: Read Complaints to Mark Robinson’s ‘Indoctrination’ Task Force
June 15, 2021: Tillis wants to defund critical race theory + the 9th Street Starbucks no one wants + Raleigh’s election delay + Trump rules the NCGOP
+TODAY’S TOP 4
1. What the Critical Race Theory Outrage Is All About
Yesterday, Sen. Thom Tillis joined the Republican critical race theory pile-on, proposing a going-nowhere bill that would eliminate federal funding for any public school history course that teaches the 1619 Project.
Tillis: “Americans do not want their tax dollars going towards promoting radical ideologies meant to divide us instead of being used to promote the principles that unite our nation. Our students deserve a rigorous understanding of civics and American history to understand both our successes and failures as a nation. I do not support diverting taxpayer resources towards promoting ideological and misleading depictions of our nation’s history.” (N&O)
Last week, at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s behest, the state’s Board of Education banned “the teaching of Critical Race Theory, meaning the theory that racism is not merely the product of prejudice, but that racism is embedded in American society and its legal systems in order to uphold the supremacy of white persons. Instruction may not utilize material from the [New York Times Magazine’s] 1619 Project and may not define American history as something other than the creation of a new nation based largely on universal principles stated in the Declaration of Independence.”
As I write in my column this week (which I’ll send out this afternoon or tomorrow):
Any American history course that relegates slavery and Jim Crow to “the past” fails its primary mission: using yesterday’s events to understand today’s world. Ignoring the structures that perpetuated white supremacy means failing to grapple with poverty gaps, homeownership disparities and overincarceration—or, for that matter, why highways often bisect cities’ Black and white neighborhoods.
Few educators teach critical race theory. But for conservatives, CRT has come to represent any conversation about diversity, equity, or social justice. As a fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute admitted, “We will eventually turn [critical race theory] toxic, as we put all of the various cultural insanities under that brand category. The goal is to have the public read something crazy in the newspaper and immediately think ‘critical race theory.’” …
On its face, the opprobrium misunderstands the point: CRT is less about blaming white people than interrogating systems of power and privilege. But that’s the very thing that frightens conservatives: If children recognize the culpability of systems, as opposed to individuals, they’ll also recognize societal problems require collective solutions. The myth of rugged individualism will vanish.
Fear is the common denominator: of losing their place atop the social hierarchy, of their culture being replaced by something that feels foreign, of their children seeing through the self-serving narratives they’ve told themselves for generations. The same fear that justifies misleading students about the history of their country justifies a zero-sum politics that views democracy as the enemy of (their) liberty.
If Governor Cooper didn’t have a veto, North Carolina would have, too.
Instead, we have the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees stomping on its own toes over Nikole Hannah-Jones, a State Board of Education sharply split over whether new social studies standards are too focused on racism, and a lieutenant governor rising through the GOP ranks by warning about indoctrination in schools.
In March, Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson established the FACTS task force, which solicited complaints from “parents, teachers, and most importantly, students who are willing to stand up for North Carolina's future by exposing indoctrination in the classroom.”
I put in a public records request for those complaints. It took two months of wrangling, but I got the first 450 a few weeks ago.
Below is a small but (what I believe to be) representative sample. The idea is to provide a window into what’s fueling this fire. Make of it what you will.
No. 162, Wake County
My two oldest girls were students at North Ridge Elementary School in the 2019/2020 school year. I found out that there were multiple books in their library with LGBTQ themes that I didn't feel were appropriate for school aged children. I then went to the public library, read them all myself to verify the content of the books, and then met with the school librarian to request their removal. She denied my request. I then met with the principal to discuss and request their removal. I had to fill out an official Wake County School Board form for each book (I selected the 4 most inappropriate) that reviewed the content of the book and why I thought it should be removed. The forms were reviewed by a North Ridge Elementary committee and ultimately it was determined that all the books were appropriate for elementary school students. None of the books were removed. My children have since been withdrawn from Wake County public school and I now homeschool them.
No. 187, Cumberland County
My son was a student at NC State pursuing a Political Science degree, he is a republican and came to me on many occasions with stories of leftist teachers and their teachings and his concern about his inability to write papers on his opinions for fear of receiving failing grades because his beliefs did not match his professors. Unfortunately he did not finish his degree, I'm sure the inability to express his opinions in his classes had some bearing on this outcome. Hopefully he will return and finish his degree.
No. 190, Wake County
The implementation of the BLM curriculum in Wake County Schools. We have taken our child out of the public school system and are now doing the job of the NC education system at our own expense to avoid the Anti Christian, Anti police Anti God, Marxist indoctrination currently being used by the WCPSS.
North Carolina’s largest school district has launched a campaign against “whiteness in educational spaces” and is encouraging teachers to subvert parents to push “antiracism” directly onto students without their consent. The anti-white racism is taking place in the Wake County Public School System.
North Carolina is a red state — and this is still being allowed to happen there because of liberals taking over the school systems and running for positions of power to subvert the will of the people who live there.
I would also like my tax dollars to fund my homeschool and to not be used for the leftist agenda. Funds that have been allocated to teach children should follow the child and not be used to fund alt left agendas like those in Wake County North Carolina.
No. 196, Wake County
I would be more specific, but I want to make the Principle of our school aware before I do. I do have some 'backlash' concern for my child who is only a Junior in High School in Wake County.
My child's freshman history class was told that if "you were white and Christian, you should be ashamed". My child's junior history class was told that "it is possible that some Republicans could be good people".
Not only are the teachers indoctrinated and teaching the same indoctrination, but the curriculum in all the classes is all about race and gender. Every single book/passage reading in AP English class is about white supremacy/privilege. My child has figured out that he/she needs to answer any opinion questions the way the teachers want the questions answered, and not give an actual/honest opinion on a topic. An actual opinion that doesn't conform to the 'woke' culture would be criticized rather than thoughtfully discussed.
No. 204, Durham County
I have no specific issue but I am totally opposed to Critical Race Theory being taught in our schools. It is an erroneous theory to believe that people interact only on the basis of race and that only those who are oppressed should be heard. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the truth----every man is equal in his eyes. It is a man's character which determines his worth. How ever I can help with this project please let me know. It is time to stand up against falsehood. Thank you, Mark Robinson for being courageous and bold.
No. 208, Mecklenburg County
My daughter was raised with sound biblical values (the Golden Rule, etc), but just 3 short years public school turned her into a full-blown socialist. She graduated about 15 years ago; but, even to this day, I cannot have a rational conversation with her regarding anything significant. The indoctrination and hate-mongering has gotten worse in our society. You see it everywhere. In EVERY classroom we need to remove or discourage socialism, critical race theory (etal), and anything else that promotes socialistic indoctrination (Marxism) and hatred. Or, at the very least, teach the Constitution, and the freedoms it espouses, in a positive light. Teach both sides. My daughter will not tell me any specific incidents (as a true socialist would not do); but, the fruit of public education STINKS.
****WE NEED SCHOOL CHOICE NOW!!**** That is, I should be able to send my child to a school that does not teach socialism, but teaches values consistent with my own.
Thank you for asking!
No. 236, Davie County
My son and many other students were bullied by their American History teacher at Davie County High School because of their conservative Christian beliefs. They were regularly made fun of and had hateful questions thrown at them due to the history teachers liberal beliefs. My son said on many occasions b/c this wasn’t the only teacher that acted that way, “why would I want to go to a 4 year university when that’s the way you turn out?” Ps he is very smart graduated with a 3.8 and could have went to any college he wanted to. He graduated in 2020.
When my daughter who graduated in 2015 had history her teacher argued with her class that the 2nd amendment wasn’t for the average person but only those who were in a militia. Her class stood up to him and debated the facts.
I hate that by middle school they put students on categories and if your student is in the potential 4 year college track they get lots of opportunities but if not they are truly left behind and treated as a 2nd class citizen. I had one of each and my sister-in-law as 3 of one group and 1 of the other and the contrast is striking. It’s not fair to our kids, many of them just need to be shown some potential and opportunity, plus patience and they could blossom into a successful citizen, either trade school, technical college or any other path. If it’s not a 4 yr the teachers don’t care.
No. 267, Wake County
My high school junior was enrolled in American History II honors via the virtual academy in the fall. This class occurred during the last presidential election and as such allowed the teacher opportunity to express his personal views and only his views which were all far left wing. For example, each student was asked whether they supported BLM or not. They had to respond and it was made very clear by previous comments by the teacher that to not support BLM was to be on the wrong side. He also made numerous anti Trump comments as well as disparaged past presidents like Reagan and Bush as well. The teacher was also pro socialism and pushed socialist ideology. For example he told the students that “the only reason your parents don’t like socialism is because all they think of are the bad parts of communism”. This teacher also made his pro abortion views widely known.
My child says the overall take away from the class was that “right wing, white males are bad”
This incident occurred at LRHS in Wake County.
We did not report this to the school.
This was not the only class my child has heard this point of view in. As such we have pulled my high school junior and as well as my other children and are now homeschooling and are enrolled in private schools.
No. 294, Forsyth County
I have been concerned that throughout the pandemic Clemmons Middle School 8th graders have to watch and are graded on watching CNN! They watched it though the whole election and still are required to watch it. I don’t believe requiring children to watch a news station that is bias should be mandatory or required. Students were also required to complete a form asking personal questions and what pronouns they went by! This is how this indoctrination starts! This was never an issue in school when I went and our school system is very diverse and my daughter has expressed the kids are tired of it being talked about in school and being asked constant questions! Forsyth County schools should not ask under age children to complete forms asking personal questions or making them watch CNN for a grade!
No. 301, Wake County
[Redacted], a middle school teacher at Asheville Middle School in Buncombe County posted to Instagram a picture of her laptop in the classroom. I have screenshots. The laptop screen shows "Transgender Day of Visibility March 31". It appears that she is teaching a class and/or a virtual class of either AIG 6th graders or AIG 8th graders. 1) It cannot be legal for a teacher to discuss a topic like this without informing parents. 2) It is not ethical for a teacher to discuss such topics with students. 3) Exactly, what is the educational purpose of discussing this with 6th or 8th graders in ELA or Math?
No steps have been taken to resolve this problem since I do not live in Buncombe County. I am contacting Sloan Rachmuth with Education First Alliance NC, however.
PS: In case you didn't know, there is a new "social contagion" existing in middle schools. Much like dangerous disorders like anorexia, bulimia, and cutting, "transgendering" is the new "cool" or "clicqueish" thing to do for young tween and teen girls and boys.
Last month, the LG’s office told me there’s no plan for what to do with these complaints—whether to compile them in a report to the General Assembly, the Department of Public Instruction, both, or neither. The first task force meeting is supposed to happen sometime in June, I was told.
If it’s happened already, I haven’t been able to find a record of its minutes or its public notice, both of which are legally required.
2. Ted Budd, Ascending
If you want to know the degree to which Donald Trump runs the North Carolina Republican Party, you need only look at U.S. Rep. Ted Budd’s internal polling:
Before being told that Trump endorsed Budd for Senate at the NCGOP convention last week, the state’s Republicans supported the better known Pat McCrory 45–19, with Mark Walker limping along at 12%.
After learning of Trump’s endorsement, they backed Budd 46-27 over McCrory, with Walker at at 8%.
Ahead of the GOP convention, McCrory had the name recognition, and Walker had the grassroots support. Budd was sort of a lesser-known, fringe character. Now, as the polling memo notes:
“Fully 30% of McCrory’s initial supporters move to back Ted Budd after hearing about Trump’s endorsement; 34% of Walker’s initial supporters do the same.”
“Trump’s endorsement pushes Budd to a 25-point lead among core primary voters (Base Republicans who are very conservative) and puts him 11 points ahead of McCrory in the former Governor’s region base, the Charlotte media market.”
Budd has momentum and money. He’s a full-on culture warrior. And, most important to Trump, he's an election conspiracy theorist.
A member of the House Freedom Caucus, Budd backed Trump’s efforts not to certify the 2020 presidential election results. He signed onto a brief before the Supreme Court. He wrote a letter to other members of the delegation, asking them to back Trump’s efforts.
“The people of North Carolina chose Donald Trump to be reelected. We should not allow the lack of election integrity in other states (to) deprive us of the president that we voted for,” he wrote in the letter dated Dec. 22.
Budd voted against certification of the results from Arizona and Pennsylvania, the only two states that reached a full vote in the House after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
In his endorsement speech, Trump mentioned Budd’s willingness to fight as part of the reason for his backing.
“He will fight like nobody fights,” Trump said.
3. NC Senate Greenlights Raleigh’s Election Move
When the Raleigh city council did away with citizens advisory councils last year, it did so with intentional stealth, ambushing both council member David Cox—whose political base derived from the CACs—and CAC members themselves, whose protests had quashed previous efforts to rethink the city’s citizen engagement process.
Whatever you thought of the outcome—IMO, CACs had generally outlived their usefulness—the process reeked of elitism and backroom dealing. It was a body that didn’t want to be bothered with its own constituents.
I’m getting the same vibes from the council’s handling of this year’s—scratch that: next year’s—election. It’s probably not a bad idea to shift an election away from odd years where a few thousand people determine the direction of a major metro. It’s probably not a great idea to do so without asking your constituents what they think—especially when, in the course of postponing your election, you are granting yourself an extra year in office.
Last night, the state Senate signed off on a bill that will, among other things, allow Raleigh to hold its elections in November 2022 instead of October and November 2021.
The elections will remain nonpartisan, but there will no longer be a primary. Instead, the November 2022 elections will be won by whoever has the most votes, even if they’re nowhere close to a majority.
The current council will remain in office until the next vote, rather than the new council taking office in December. While delayed census data made a delayed election inevitable, literally no one—except themselves—voted for them to stay in office all of next year.
Here’s the thing: The city council has never voted to move its election. Instead, it reached a 7–1 “consensus” in closed session to direct its lawyers to ask legislators to move the date for them.
David Cox wants a public vote. It really seems like the least they could do.
▶️ OTHER RALEIGH NEWS
One of the three candidates to be RPD’s next chief is Estella Patterson, a deputy chief and former internal affairs leader in Charlotte who defended a cop who held a gun to the head of an unarmed man and threatened to kill him. But a former Charlotte-Mecklenburg police chief says things aren’t that simple:
But Putney told WRAL News that, while Patterson said Dunham's behavior was reasonable in a legal context, she did further investigate him for “unbecoming” conduct.
"That’s not how we do business," Putney said, condemning Dunham's actions. "It was actually Chief Patterson who said, 'Chief, I’m really struggling with this,' and I agreed. I was struggling mightily with it as well. So, she proposed to me an additional allegation of unbecoming conduct."
Dunham was suspended for unbecoming conduct and later left the department.
Here’s where North Carolina’s law protecting internal affairs records from public view is so damned frustrating. In states with better open-government laws, I could review Charlotte’s internal affairs determinations during Patterson’s time running the shop and see how she treated bad cops.
As is, we have to take the ex-chief’s word for it.
4. Starbucks ‘Proud to Join the Raleigh, NC Community’ … on Durham’s 9th Street
Starbucks and Chase Bank are moving onto 9th Street, furthering the ongoing commercialization of one of Durham’s niche areas, which both sucks and is nothing particularly new. Some people are upset about these developments—also not new. Shop local, support small businesses, you know the drill.
Anyway, the point is, somewhere, a PR flack needs to lose their job.