State School Board Worried About Teaching Too Much Black History

June 4, 2021: The real problem in education + NC House votes to cut off unemployment aid + NC Senate rejects DEQ leader + DeJoy under investigation + aliens! + Raleigh’s anti-vax bar

+TODAY’S TOP 7

1. DPI Superintendent: Too Many Black People

Following a contentious vote earlier this year, the Department of Public Instruction is working on new social studies standards designed to teach students a more inclusive, less glossed-over version of American history. This, naturally, generated outrage from white people who just learned about critical race theory from Tucker Carlson.

  • The state school board is run (narrowly) by Democrats. The superintendent of public instruction is a Republican.

  • On Wednesday, Superintendent Catherine Truitt said she’d asked DPI to change the “unpacking documents” for high school teachers because she thought they focused too much on the experiences of Black people.

  • No, I’m not making that up.

Truitt, a Republican, said she became concerned about the lack of diversity in the examples included in initial drafts for the high school American History class. For instance, she said all but one of the examples of reading assignments and topics about the experiences and achievements of minorities and marginalized peoples related to African-American culture.

“There was nothing about European discrimination of various groups, anti-Semitism, Asian slavery, etc.,” Truitt said.

Another American History standard looks at how slavery, xenophobia, disenfranchisement and intolerance have affected individual and group perspectives of themselves as Americans. But Truitt said 13 of the 17 suggested resources dealt with African American topics.

Truitt said 13 of the 25 example topics about racism, oppression and discrimination of indigenous peoples, racial minorities and other marginalized groups were African American.

“That’s the disproportionality that I was referring to,” she said.

Lori Carlin, DPI section chief of social studies and arts education, said they’ve “fixed” that problem.

Source: N&O

I mean, sure, we should probably mention the Native American genocide. And the Japanese internment during World War II. And the anti-Chinese policies of the late 19th century. And anti-Irish and anti-Catholic discrimination. And persistent anti-LGBTQ discrimination. (Just look at the General Assembly!) And … well, you get the idea.

  • But I’m not sure why European racism should dominate an American history class.

  • Also, besides Indigenous peoples, it’s very hard to think of Americans more affected by white racism than those of African descent.

  • 13 out of 25 doesn’t seem that disproportional to me.

Yesterday, the school board delayed for two weeks a vote on a glossary of social studies terms and unpacking documents for elementary students. The unpacking documents for middle and high schoolers will go to the state school board in July.

  • Now Republicans want to add a statement to the standards that “America is a great nation,” which is the kind of banality everyone who studies American history rolls their eyes at but also has political juice.

▶️ REAPING, SOWING

In other education/critical race theory news, UNC-Chapel Hill’s bungling of the Nikole Hannah-Jones affair has cost the school at least one academic recruit already. Dr. Lisa Jones, an acclaimed Black chemist, withdrew from consideration for a post at the school.

The news this week that Nikole Hannah-Jones was denied tenure was very disheartening, It does not seem in line with a school that says it is interested in diversity. Although I know this decision may not reflect the view of the school’s faculty, I will say that I cannot see myself accepting a position at a university where this decision stands. I appreciate all of the effort you have put into trying to recruit me but for me, this is hard to overlook.

The Board of Trustees won’t meet to consider Hannah-Jones’s tenure ahead of her demand that it do so by today to avoid litigation. Per the N&O:

The next trustees meeting is set for July 14 and 15, after Hannah-Jones is set to start her job on campus. But that meeting also brings in a few new trustees, new committee chairs and a new board chair. So, the issue might not come before the board at that meeting, which could push it to September.


2. NC House Cuts Off Unemployment Aid

After the Senate voted to establish a $1,500 reward for layabouts who get off the dole, the House did them one better, voting to force Governor Cooper to cut off the $300-a-week federal unemployment supplement and remove about $75 million a week from the state’s economy.

Just like the Senate, House Republicans said the measure is needed because those on unemployment are lazy leeches:

Republican House Speaker Tim Moore argued the additional money is keeping workers at home. He says a shortage of workers is slowing the state's economic recovery and putting businesses in jeopardy at the very time they're trying to get back on their feet.

“We should not have a system in place that has been thrust upon us by this federal program where folks are incentivized not to work,” Moore said. “It doesn’t make sense. It's not how we can operate this economy.”

Source: WRAL

I went over this yesterday, so I’ll only reiterate that what Moore is proposing here is effectively a subsidy for employers that pay crap wages for crap jobs.

  • 7 Democrats joined Republicans, which is enough to overcome a veto in the House. Historically, though, Democrats have gotten in line when Cooper needed them to.

▶️ OTHER NCGA NEWS


3. Social Media Faux-Pas Alert

You guys know The Cardinal Bar? It’s a joint on West Street in downtown Raleigh that serves hot dogs and canned beer. Cheap and laid back, that sort of vibe. And, well, it reacted to news that the Players’ Retreat was opening inside dining to the vaccinated only in a manner it might come to regret:

The comments, I mean…

thecardinalbar: You are more than welcome here at The Cardinal. SMH. -spirits and EVERYBODY

okaykennyray: Omg thank you so much for letting me know I can go back to PR’s soon ♥️ I’ve missed their burgers soooooooo much

corey_kaminski: Annnnnd unfollow.

easy_tyger: The PR is the oldest bar in Raleigh. You are... The Cardinal. They've been a damn institution longer than you've been a bar, and they will be around long after you're gone, too.

hwilla: Since it got deleted the first time... not a good look bashing another small business. Y’all do your thing and let them do theirs- not going to affect their business

dalevirginia: Y’all should have kept this to yourselves. This ain’t a good look at all.

harvard_and_yale_rule: I’m gonna come in and throw up in your bar

queen_bhey: Yeah how dare them want to keep their staff and customers safe while people are still dying from COVID. This is so fucking cringe.

socialdishtanced: 🧐 Weird flex, but ok. Good thing I can make better hot dogs at home.

welcometoraleighwood: Yikes. Bad post! Don’t love criticizing someone else’s opening plan!

lolifer: Aren’t y’all the place that gives discounts to cops in violation of ABC rules?

paulblest: How long until y’all go on WRAL to complain about having trouble finding help and blame it on how “no one wants to work anymore”

camm.farrar: we saw that nasty looking hotdog you posted 😭 don’t nobody want that. i’ll sleep better tonight knowing im not eating your gross food.

And on it goes. The Cardinal tried to defend itself. But that defense fell more into the category of “when in a hole, stop digging” than anything else.

thecardinalbar: We will not apologize for taking an opportunity to open our doors to an ever increasing group of people who choose to not be vaccinated. These people are increasingly marginalized daily for simply wanting to make a choice about their own body. We will always have a seat at the bar for them. I’ll say it one more time for you since your translation seems to be different than ours. You are more than welcome here at the Cardinal. SMH -spirits and EVERYBODY.


4. Louis DeJoy Under Federal Investigation

Two months ago, Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman announced that she wouldn’t pursue a campaign finance case against Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, whose North Carolina employees weirdly became generous donors to Republican candidates. That, she said, was up to the feds.

Challenge accepted, the feds said.

The FBI is investigating Postmaster General Louis DeJoy in connection with campaign fundraising activity involving his former business, according to people familiar with the matter and a spokesman for DeJoy.

FBI agents in recent weeks interviewed current and former employees of DeJoy and the business, asking questions about political contributions and company activities, these people said. Prosecutors also issued a subpoena to DeJoy himself for information, one of the people said.

Source: WaPo

According to a Post investigation last year, employees at DeJoy’s New Breed Logistics said he pressured them to contribute to Republican candidates, then paid them back through bonuses. That is very, very illegal.

DeJoy, a hack of a postmaster general, denies any wrongdoing.


5. Biden Makes GOP an Offer They’ll Refuse

I know we all know how this ends, but let’s pretend to be intrigued by the plot anyway. It’s more fun that way.

In infrastructure talks, President Biden offered not to raise the corporate tax to 28% from 21% if Republicans would agree to a minimum tax of 15%—i.e., forcing all corporations to pay something.

  • The former would eviscerate the only thing Republicans accomplished under Trump.

  • The latter would penalize rich tax dodgers and generate about $1 trillion—about half of what Biden originally proposed, but four times more than Republicans have signed on for.

  • “Republican leaders are still deciding whether to put forward another counteroffer or to walk away from the negotiations entirely,” per the Washington Post.

Game this out: There is zero chance Republicans will agree to a $1 trillion infrastructure bill for which Joe Biden will get credit, and zero chance the White House and congressional Dems agree to anything less than that.

  • Republicans want to drag the process out and blame Biden for being unwilling to compromise. It’s the same playbook McConnell used with Obamacare in 2009/10. Waste time, create frustration, cast blame.

  • For the White House, this is theater for an audience of one: Joe Manchin. Manchin won’t back infrastructure in reconciliation unless all bipartisan efforts have been exhausted. The White House is exhausting them.

  • But Democrats will have to move sooner than later. The longer things drag on, the less chance there is the legislation actually moves forward—or that the concessions they offered Republicans don’t stick even though Republicans won’t vote for the bill anyway.

▶️ WORTH REMEMBERING

Republicans are less popular now than they were on Election Day. Democrats are more popular.

On Election Day, Democrats had a favorable/unfavorable rating of 47-51.

  • Among white men with no college degree: 30-69.

  • White women with no college degree: 38-60.

  • Blacks: 77-21.

  • Hispanics: 57-40.

In that same poll, Republicans rated 42-56.

  • White men, no college: 54-43.

  • White men, college: 43-56.

  • White women, no college: 53-45.

  • White women, college: 39-61.

  • Blacks: 20-75.

  • Hispanics: 37-61.

Fast-forward to June, same polling company.

  • Dems overall: 44-45 (+3)

    • White men, no college: 31-58 (+12)

    • White women, no college: 36-45 (+13)

    • Blacks: 69-17 (-4)

    • Hispanics: 51-22 (+12)

  • Republicans overall: 34-54 (-6)

    • White men, no college: 44-45 (-12)

    • White men, college: 39-57 (-5)

    • White women, no college: 38-42 (-12)

    • White women, college: 29-66 (-15)

    • Blacks: 21-64 (+12)

    • Hispanics: 29-57 (-4)

Tl;dr: The only demographic group Republicans have improved with (and Democrats have lost ground with) is African Americans—and, to be technical, the sample size for that subgroup is probably too small to be significant in this poll.

  • Democrats have the advantage if they’re willing to press it. The Republican Party is not well-liked.

  • Of course, historical and institutional forces still favor Republicans in next year’s midterms, though they’re unlikely to be backed by the majority of people. Our undemocratic democracy can be an odd beast.


6. Aliens! (Maybe)

The government is about to release a report that says it has no “evidence” that the strange aerial phenomena pilots have witnessed are alien spacecraft, but “they still cannot explain the unusual movements that have mystified scientists and the military.”

In other words: aliens.

The report determines that the vast majority of more than 120 incidents over the past two decades did not originate from any American military or other advanced U.S. government technology, the officials said. That determination would appear to eliminate the possibility that Navy pilots who reported seeing unexplained aircraft might have encountered programs the government meant to keep secret.

But that is about the only conclusive finding in the classified intelligence report, the officials said. And while a forthcoming unclassified version, expected to be released to Congress by June 25, will present few other firm conclusions, senior officials briefed on the intelligence conceded that the very ambiguity of the findings meant the government could not definitively rule out theories that the phenomenon observed by military pilots might be alien spacecraft. …

The report concedes that much about the observed phenomenon remains difficult to explain, including their acceleration, ability to change direction and submerge. One possible explanation—that the phenomena could be weather or other research balloons—does not hold up in all cases, the officials said, because of changes in wind speed at the times of some of the interactions.

Source: NYT


7. Well, This Is Terrifying

Last night’s Durham Bulls game was suspended in the eighth inning after pitcher Tyler Zombro took a very hard line drive directly to the head. Here’s a link to the video. It’s not pretty.

  • As I was wrapping up the newsletter last night, the Bulls released a statement on his condition.