“I guess she had the right skin color.” Complaints to Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson’s indoctrination portal dominated by white racial resentment

Last week Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger unveiled an updated version of HB 324, a law entitled “Ensuring Dignity and Nondiscrimination in Schools.”

Among other things, the bill would make it illegal for teachers to promote feelings of racial discomfort and would require schools to prominently post information about diversity training on their websites for public review.

Speaking in support of the legislation, Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson said he would soon be releasing a report detailing public school indoctrination complaints submitted through his Fairness and Accountability in the Classroom for Teachers and Students (F.A.C.T.S.) website as evidence of why HB 324 is necessary.

I suspect Robinson’s report will cherry pick a handful of isolated complaints (probably including his ego-bruising account where a child was allegedly not allowed to write a report about him) and attempt to portray them as a widespread problem requiring legislative action.

I also suspect Robinson doesn’t want you to know about the submissions I’m publishing below, which I obtained from his office through a public records request.

Many of the 506 complaints to Robinson’s task force come from North Carolinians who appear deeply concerned about what they perceive as a move away from a white Christian-centered system of public education.

These submissions include recommendations to cancel Black History Month, pleas to stop making white students feel guilty by teaching so much about slavery–which one individual remarked “is getting old”–and suggestions to end hiring practices aimed at increasing diversity of school staff.

They provide a helpful lens to understand the real motivation behind moves across the country to restrict classroom discussions on race and various types of oppression under the false pretense of fighting the boogeyman “critical race theory.”

While the outward tactics and messaging of this movement may be a bit more subtle than in years past, its underlying sentiment feels very familiar.

I’ve transcribed the submissions for your reading convenience but have also included screenshots of the originals for corroboration purposes.

14:

...since parents are helping teach at home now, just a few weeks ago my wife was helping my daughter with a Social Studies assignment.  As they were reading out loud, I was appalled at how they were portraying white people in history.

In my mind, just about every race of people throughout history has been guilty of murder, coercion, deceit, killing for gains, wars, etc. etc.  Now I’m not saying that’s right or good!  NO - it’s not!  However, after hearing what was being read I almost felt bad for being born of European decent which was completely out of my control.

I waited until the next day, when I had a chance to chat with my wife before addressing my (now) 7th grader at Ligon Middle.  We tried to put things in context, and explain to her that issues with war and slavery, etc., have been issues since biblical times and before.

46:

Hello, Hope all is well.
In listening to your speech, which I loved and support your cause.  I presently have daughter in H.S. And am very concerned about her education.  However, with in your speech I found the root of the problem.  You brought up an example of indoctrination in the school system.  A student who wanted to write a report on you for Black History month.  This would never had happened if their was no such thing as Black History Month.  By celebrating only one specific group of people is biased and singling out only one group of people that does not represent all children.  Their are to many ethnic groups in this country and to few months in a year to designate a month to only one group of people.  By removing Black History Month from the curriculum and replace and allowing the children to focus on their own ethnic background should solve this particular problem.

80:

I’m a grandparent, and employer of parents with school age children.  I will tell you that what I am told is going on in schools today is a huge problem.  Be aware that the parents often will not publicly come forward b/c of repercussions.  Specifically, I have been told of a middle school class being taught the virtues of homosexuality by their lesbian teacher.  In Raleigh, my grandchildren’s neighborhood public school’s quality is deteriorating daily by parents pulling their children out and going to private schools b/c the curriculum agenda being pushed down by county and state school boards.  This has lead to a mighty teary number of weeks as my daughter and husband try to figure out how they can afford to do what is best for their children and move to the private school sector.  BTW, why has an obviously agenda focused racist person like (Dr.) Ford been placed on the important NC Education Board?

154:

When my daughter was in elementary school they held a "holiday" musical performance at Christmas time. They performed a Hunakkah song...a few other songs from other parts of the world related to the holiday season and then Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer...As a Christian we were highly offended at the zero reference to Jesus...they clearly went completely out of their way to keep any and all of the dozens of traditional Christ related songs out of the show...it was completely offensive and Christians where the ONLY ones slighted because it's known that we are respectful people who follow the rules and don't look for every chance to scream our heads off about injustices such as these...Jesus has been the reason for the season for 200 years in this country and it's my belief that because we were one Nation formed under God that we were so blessed for those 200 years...now we are nothing more that highly entitled rag tag groups of "individuals" and look what is happening to us!?!?!?! I feel like I'll never see another great Christian man like GW Bush in the oval office again and I am only 47...this holiday performance was several years ago and people did complain later...all this lead to was all future performances being cancelled which really isn't a solution at all. When Obama was in office our daughter came home ever other week talking about how great his policies were...per her teacher...this has never happened with any other President...so I question the fairness of classroom discussion such as these as well. Thanks

182:

My son's ELA teacher has been talking about slavery since they came back from Christmas break. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with talking about it, but there are other topics she could be discussing. She has been talking about Frederick Douglas and he seemed like a good person, also a Republican from what I've read online because of course every body thinks Republicans were all for slavery, because slave owners were white. An article she had them read and so far has just been one, referred back to 1619 and I was really upset about this. Another person she discussed was a Hispanic named Chavez, and in reading the passage about him it basically made Republicans sound like they hated Hispanics. One thing that has been good about kids being at home is parents can actually see what is being taught. I know these kids are tired of hearing about the same thing over and over and I'm not sure what the teacher thinks she is accomplishing, especially when kids ,hopefully go back in the fall somewhat normal. Everyone knows how bad slavery was, but hearing about it for months now, is getting old. I dont hear any of these teachers talking about Hitler and how he tried to take out a whole race of people! Nor have I heard this teacher once say that blacks in Africa were the ones selling others into slavery. If I could afford Christian school my kids would definitely be there. I wish i liked homeschooling and my kids enjoyed being homeschooled but they dont.

208:

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!

273:

In my sons 7th grade ELA class the teacher was teaching from slides. My son showed me the slide and screenshot it and sent it to me. It showed the following lessons: Racism, white supremacy, oppression, white privilege, color blindness, and ethnocentrism; with descriptions of each. One by one, the brown kids in class started speaking up and saying that they are discriminated against all the time because they are brown. Sadly, this is what these teachers in Wake county are doing making the white kids feel inferior and the brown kids feel like everything that happens in their life is about their skin color. It's creating a huge divide in the middle schools. I see it first hand, the kids are afraid to befriend kids of different skin colors because of what the school is teaching. I am in possession of this PowerPoint slide and I would love to share it with you. Also in the 6th and 7th grade classes the teachers are playing CNN for 15 minutes at the start of social studies. And during election time, I could hear the kids on the Chromebook chanting "Biden, Biden, Biden". This issue is ongoing, getting worse. The teachers say they are told the curriculum they have to teach by Wake County.

329:

Hello LT Governor Robinson,

First off, I want to thank you for all the great work you’re doing and setting up this form for accountability in our state.  We deliberately moved to the great state of North Carolina to escape the destruction the Democratic Party had done to our home states (PA and MA).  Today I dropped off my daughter at her school, Highland Mills Montessori, a magnet school part of the Charlotte Mecklenburg School district.  Apparently the school has a “Black Lives Matter'' mural at the entrance.  First off, I am wondering why a public, tax-funded school is able to engage in politics, especially with young children.  Second, my daughter has asked why her life does not matter and others’ lives do.  It’s a hard thing to explain - what else can I say to her besides the truth - society today only believes certain peoples’ lives matter, based on skin color alone, and that she is not eligible?  I really do not trust the school with my daughter since they do not value her based on the messaging they have.  I am so appalled that this is allowed at a public school that I eagerly want to put her into a private school but cannot afford it.  If there is anything you and your office can do to help I would greatly appreciate it - even if it’s expanding school choice in our state.

378:

I am a preschool teacher in Charlotte, NC.  I know this site is for K-12, but I wasn’t sure what else to do or where else to turn.  I’m hoping my concern will find the appropriate ear.  As a requirement for continuing education, I attended a Conference through Child Care Resources Inc. (CCRI).  The title sounded harmless:  “Courageous Conversations:  Teaching for Change in Early Childhood Classrooms”.  It was a class on critical race theory!  I am devastated to discover that our trusted source for training early educators is now training North Carolina PRESCHOOL teachers on communism!!  They are planning on furthering this topic with a “deeper dive” called “From Courageous Conversations to Culturally Affirming Early Childhood Classrooms” “on May 19th via ZOOM 6:30 - 8:30pm.  Please help us stop communism from infecting our youngest children!!  What more can I do to help stop communism in my community?

379:

Indoctrination of our children.  This country was and hopefully will be foundered on christian believes.  Not this fables of socicalism.  That through out history has caused mass mureder!  Mass genocide!  This form of government can only suicide with a god fearing people.  
Whoa to those that lead our children away from the truth.  Whoa unto the decivers of iniquity!!  Do not be deceived !!

390:

Hi Mr. Robinson,

My son attends Grace Christian School.  During Chapel two weeks ago the entire was spent teaching kids of terms such as micro-aggression and macro-aggression.  Black students were speaking and talking about how they are treated differently due to their race and how they must act differently when approached by police officers.  The Chapel concluded with a follow up discussion to go over what students felt about the chapel session.  They were asked if they felt they had experienced micro-aggression or had secret feelings of micro-aggression towards others of other races, particularly the black race.  When I and other parents approached we were told that we were a minority that felt strongly against this teaching.  We explained that this is not comparable to the word of God and that this is not ok.  We are all created out of the image of God and that no man was greater than the other.  Please help us.  Many are too afraid to stand and confront this issue.  We need help!  If this happens to our Christian Schools we are in deeper trouble than we could ever imagine.  This ideology is from Satan to further divide us.  I am afraid as to what this is doing to our churches, our schools, and our communities.  Please help us!  We need someone to come to our school to speak to the head master, [redacted] as well as staff members.  I am begging you!!

415:

My kids attend a charter school, Union Academy, in Monroe, NC. A parent survey was sent out a couple weeks ago and one page of the survey was nothing but diversity, equity, and inclusion questions. They asked if my kids would benefit from a more diverse staff, etc. Of course my answer was no, they would benefit from qualified teachers and staff. This got my agitated so I spoke at the board meeting (and sent a follow up email)...nothing. I made it clear that myself and (other parents I had spoken with were too scared to speak up) were not happy with this and the Critical Race Theory the state passed. 

When I left the head master, [redacted], said he had not heard of CRT. A week later he sent a letter to the entire school that a Head of Curriculum and Inclusion position had been created and [redacted] would be in this position. She is a middle school counselor, not a teacher or even deals with the curriculum, but I guess she had the right skin color.

435:

As a high school teacher, a parent of grown children and a grandmother of two, I am extremely concerned about the direction education is going. I can no longer be a caring teacher of all children, no matter the color of the skin. I have to listen to training that tells me I am a racist when I am not. I have to allow George Floyd to to glorified even by the superintendent. I understand what happen was totally wrong but he was a criminal too and not someone children should look up to.
I now have to worry about how I address my students using pronouns that don’t even fit is a sentence correctly. Example: please go over to “they’s” table and see they’s work. Because I cannot address all children as she, he, her or his plus I am not expected to do it in front of parents. As a parent that is wrong. These children are not ours they have parents and the parents that want to be involved should know what is going on at school. They have no idea what they are really learning.
We now have a black History course which is great but in a meeting had to listen to the teacher tell us his class was the only class the students felt safe in. That was an insult to all of us because we are all loving teachers.
We don’t do this for the money. I think of each child as our future.
I know this has been a tough year for all of us but I have never been a racist and am insulted when I am treated like I am. It is the narrative present in this country right now and I get that. I love you and your message. I like that you are concerned about what is going on in schools because I am too. I have watched it change over the years. I am concerned about the future leaders of our country because they think this is who we are as humans.  
I am fine with who anyone decides they want to love and understand totally not everyone love’s the opposite sex. It isn’t that at all. I want to be a teacher and worry about how best to educate a child. Life for a child is confusing enough. We as teachers now have to watch everything we say and everything we do worried that someone will perceive us wrong. I had no idea that saying “ Y’all” is racist. I am on the Care and Equity team for SIT team and just found that out. I am born and raised in N.C. and that was born in my vocabulary. I am not the same teacher now. I don’t talk to them like I use to because I am fearful. All it takes is one child to take something wrong or make something up. Our word means nothing. Respect went out the window and the students know it.
I just want to teach my class, love all my students equally even the one that drive me crazy. It has made me fearful to speak and I think of my every word. I went back to school at 43 to become a teacher because I wanted to give something back as an artist. I am 5 year away from 20 years for retirement and that seems like forever right now. I hate I ever left graphic art because I don’t feel valued by this state. I will continue to do the best for my students because that is why I became a teacher but something needs to change. I have too many years in to stop but I want so much to be done. As a parent and a grandmother I don’t want my family attending public school now and that is really saying something because my mother was a teacher, and my sister is a teacher in public school. I don’t trust the values being taught all because of the political views. It was fine in our county to talk about Biden but not for anyone else. I never talk politics anyway but it was very evident who was allowed to speak and who were silenced.
I pray you can do something to fix what is going on so I can continue to believe in what I do. Please keep my letter private because I don’t want to lose my job so I can still get my retirement but I couldn’t just sit back and act like what is happening is okay. Thank you for you time

437:

Lt.Governor Robinson, et al,
I watched the video on Facebook of the student assaulted in a classroom in Guilford County. I’m sure appropriate action will be taken in this case.
However, using simple troubleshooting questioning of “cause and affect” this is not a cause, it is an affect.
Face it, we spent astronomical amounts of tax dollars trying to provide public education to everyone seeking it. Yet, schools, most schools, have a percentage of their student body present who will not follow the law, disrupt, peddle drugs, threaten violence against fellow students and teachers and are just, general pains in the tail for any society to deal with.
What good are graduation rates if a typical student completes 13 years of public education, with fewer skills and less knowledge than the average student did three or four decades back?
Why can’t we get those who demonstrate that they really don’t want, or don’t deserve to be in school out? Why waste resources and time on them? Why allow them to intimidate teachers and students who need to teach
and learn? What, exactly, do we think we’re gaining by keeping them there?
The viability of public education is really being questioned by folks who value education for their children. My son in Virginia has two daughters, still toddlers, but looks at the prospects of where to school them with dread. Working class families like us, the products of public education, will be hard pressed to afford a private education for our children. But, seeing the decline of our public schools, it may be a pill that we are forced to swallow. When most of folks like us are gone to other options like private schools, home schooling, charter schools, etc., you’re going to be left with
“Thug School”.
It breaks my heart to see what we’ve allowed to happen to public education.
Newsflash, it’s not unreasonable to make people shut up and behave. It’s not unreasonable to require that they meet a minimum standard of literacy, math skills, science knowledge, history knowledge and conduct.
Do we really want a school system that mirrors what they have in inner-city school systems in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, or Los Angeles here in NC?
It appears that’s where we’re headed.
I appreciate that Lt. Governor Robinson started this task force. It’s a step in the right direction. My guess is that federal involvement is at the heart of the mismanagement problems of our schools…like everything else they touch. But, we can solve a lot of these issues ourselves - and not by throwing money at them, but by simply separating those who want to be there, from those who don’t.
Sorry to be long-winded.
May God bless what you are trying to do.

462:

My son was taken from an elective this year and told he was now required to take a class called the Human Experience. It was taught by a {redacted} at Middle Creek High School. Although I was not able to sit in an observe this class, he was taking the class virtually so I would stand outside of the room and listen as the teacher instructed. The class almost entirely was concerning the racism in the state of North Carolina. I heard him speak about changing the name of schools because they were named after slave owners, that the New & Observer was started by racist slave persons. The classes final project was to take action that would change the world. My son is not a political person and told the teacher he was going to do his on providing food to homeless. The teacher told him that isn't world changing. My son said I know he wants me to do a political action but I don't care if my grade suffers at this point I am not doing it. This class is very much skewed to the left and to teach these kids to focus on the ugly past of NC. I am so glad he is out of this class and if I had any idea at the beginning of the semester what this class was about I would have forced the school to take him out.

I just want you to be aware of this class and its existence in case other parents reach out to you too.

Thank you for all you are doing to help our state!

493:

The recently approved Glossary for the new Social Studies Standards have reintroduced the words "systemic racism" under the definition of "racism". These were the words that were removed from the standards as they were deemed too divisive. Systemic Racism is part of Critical Race Theory which has no place in our schools. Below is the link to the meeting agenda where the PDF of the newly approved Glossary can be seen. Thank you.

Cabarrus Board of Education adopts resolution stating no student should feel “discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress”

At its Monday meeting, the Cabarrus Board of Education unanimously adopted a “Resolution to Ensure Dignity and Nondiscrimination in Schools.”

The resolution notes that the board “recognizes the importance of diversity of backgrounds, opinions, and expression as foundational to providing students with the opportunity to receive a sound basic education” before stating that student learning should not result in any “discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress.”

The board’s action comes after North Carolina’s State Board of Education adopted new, more inclusive social studies standards which teach history from more diverse perspectives. Some language in the standards documents has resulted in charges that the standards teach that the United States is a racist nation and that news could be distressing for some of our children.

source


The Cabarrus resolution states that, while the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction is responsible for standards, it’s up to the local school board to determine which curriculum is used to teach those standards.

You can watch the board and superintendent’s brief discussion of the resolution here.

As a teacher I feel it’s important to add that learning and growing as an individual involves discomfort. That’s an inherent part of the learning process.

This resolution isn’t really about ensuring that all students are treated with dignity in schools at all. It’s about ensuring that white students don’t learn that their country has a long history of systemic oppression towards people of color and a whole host of other traditionally marginalized groups.

After all, if you want to ensure that a system continues to center you and afford you every advantage possible, the first thing you’d do is squash any efforts aimed at teaching people that such inequity exists.

You can read the resolution below:

Resolution-Ensure-Dignity-and-Nondiscrimination-FINAL

NC’s racial equity leaders call on state lawmakers to end “educational malpractice” of whitewashing history

In a petition released Friday, some of North Carolina’s leading voices on racial equity are calling on state lawmakers to end to efforts to whitewash history through legislation such as HB 755 and HB 324:

We, the undersigned individuals and organizations, universally condemn the widespread attempts to whitewash our education system in North Carolina by undermining efforts to better respond to the cultures, lived realities, and learning needs of Black, Indigenous, Latinx and Asian children. What children learn and the information they are exposed to shapes their understanding of the world around them. We recognize this as a transparent disinformation campaign that uses fear, intimidation and othering as tactics for impeding progress. We fully recognize the intentional perversion of so-called “Critical Race Theory” as a scapegoat, intended to delegitimize Black and brown scholarship and excite a base of voters for upcoming elections. These futile attempts are sadly part of a historical pattern. We will not sit idly by as racial resentment and dog-whistle politics are deployed to slow national momentum toward social justice. 

As stated by Malcolm X, “Education is the passport to the future”.  Rather than prepare students for how to share power in a multiracial democracy with a rising majority of people of color, bad faith actors in our state have instead chosen to follow patterns of the past — backlash politics. We’ve seen this movie before. We know what is happening. 

The attempts to prevent any serious teaching about systemic racism, identifying groups with structural advantages or investigating historical inequality are designed to preserve the status quo and keep us trapped in a bygone era. The bills presently being considered in the North Carolina General Assembly (HB 755 & HB 324) are the latest examples of the law being used to preserve white supremacy and prevent students from learning the truth. Nearly 200 years prior, the same state legislature passed a statute outlawing enslaved Africans from reading due to the belief that “teaching of slaves to read and write, has a tendency to excite dis-satisfaction in their minds, and to produce insurrection and rebellion”. Today, they seek to prevent students of color from learning about themselves and keep white children from learning about themselves as well as hard history for fear they will look upon their communities harshly. This is educational malpractice and intellectually dishonest.

As those who champion the causes of anti-racism, racial equity, and inclusion, we are steadfast and unmovable in our conviction to teach the truth no matter what. We will advocate for the educational needs of all children, but most especially those who are historically excluded.  Just as the United Daughters of the Confederacy used school systems to rewrite the story of the Civil War and spread “Lost Cause” propaganda, the rash of “anti-CRT” bills across the country are about protecting white feelings at the expense of everyone else. With more access to information than ever before in human history, these efforts at indoctrinating the youth will not be successful. We know what this is. We know they are coming for us, seeking to undermine  teachers, demoralize families, and disrespect students who want better. Nevertheless, we declare our right to equal educational opportunity and commit to creating this reality. In the words of Ella Baker, “we who believe in freedom cannot rest until this happens”. If you support this statement, add your name to the petition and send it to others in your personal/professional network.

Signed,

Letha Muhammad, Education Justice Alliance

Tehia Starker Glass, Associate Professor; and Founder/Director of Anti-Racism in Urban Education Graduate Certificate Program, UNC Charlotte

Christina Cole Spears

Janeen Bryant, Co-Founder and Director of Operations at the Center for Racial Equity in Education

James E. Ford, Co-Founder and Executive Director at the Center for Racial Equity in Education

Marcus Bass, NC Black Alliance

Erin T. Miller, Associate Professor, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

You can sign and share the petition here:

https://www.change.org/p/north-carolina-general-assembly-stop-the-whitewashing-of-education

Many of the submissions to Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson’s teacher indoctrination portal are just people roasting Mark Robinson

Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson launched his F.A.C.T.S. (“Fairness and Accountability for Teachers and Students”) website in March, touting it as a tool to help smoke out the rampant liberal indoctrination that is occurring in North Carolina’s classrooms.  

But if you see any smoke, it’s more likely from the copious roasts of the F.A.C.T.S. project and Robinson’s extreme politics that have been submitted through the portal.  

After obtaining and reading all 506 F.A.C.T.S. submissions through a public records request, I can report that a significant number of them are complaints from people who see the lieutenant governor’s effort as a shameful political witch hunt or tongue in cheek reports intended to mock his project.  In addition, many of the submissions are from North Carolinians who more generally object to his homophobic, xenophobic views

The submissions are not all criticisms and roasts, and they do include a good bit of generic bashing of public schools, wild accusations of teachers being satanic communists, and pleas to end the persecution of white people by Robinson’s fringe base.  Stay tuned for more on those.

For now, here’s a sampling of Mark Robinson FACTS roasts for the public’s information.  I’ve transcribed the submissions for your reading convenience but have also included screenshots of the originals for documentation purposes.

20:

Lieutenant Governor, Mark Robinson, publicly posted false, manipulative, and hyperpartisan political rhetoric to his constituents on Facebook, including a comparison of LGBTQ individuals to pedophiles.  I do not agree with a public servant using their platform to spread divisive, false, and scientifically dishonest information in his public-facing post.  Public figures, such as teachers and politicians, should not spread dishonest and scientifically inaccurate information, like calling First Lady Michelle Obama “he.”

To resolve this issue, Robinson should immediately issue an apology, take classes on human psychology/biology and resign.

FACTS matter.

22:

I think the make up of your task force is politically charged and working in conflict with your words.  You are worried about indoctrination...but yet you mainly have conservative representatives on your task force.  If you agree with a course of action or a lesson in a classroom happening currently, then chances are it’s because it is a conservative or nationalistic stance.  If you TRULY care about the education of our children, the makeup of your task force should represent that - and not be “irrelevant,” as you said during your press conference.  You represent ALL of North Carolina...not just the red voters.  In 1997, the North Carolina Supreme Court held, as a result of the Leandro v. State of NC case, that the state constitution’s right to education “is a right to a sound basic education” for EVERY student.  If you are going to form an educational watchdog group, then it better be representative of the ENTIRE state, and the ONLY purpose should be improving the QUALITY of their education and NOT perpetuating a political fishing expedition.  I urge you to dig deeper into this “so-called” indoctrination that you feel is running rampant in this state...because, as a veteran educator in this state, I guarantee you this “problem” is a figment of your political imagination.  This is just more governmental overreach and a waste of taxpayer money from a party that is supposedly against governmental overreach and wasting taxpayer money.  Thank you for your time, and I hope you read this the way it was intended.  I want you to hear from someone who disagrees with you, and I hope you grow this task force with more balanced political and ideological voices.  Have a good night.

23:

My son has the most amazing teachers and staff at his school.  I am SO incredibly thrilled that he is in such wonderful and loving hands.  This “FACTS” initiative is completely ludicrous.  You should be commending our teachers for the amazing work they have been doing during the hardest time in our nation’s recent history.  Shame on you for this.  We love our NC educators and support them for EVERYTHING they do to support and educate our children.

38:

This task force is a travesty that flouts open-minded thinking and seeks to have a witch hunt against educators.  Education is about the free exchange of all ideas, not just those you agree with.

45:

I submit the concern and complaint that the very formation of this committee is a dangerous step toward indoctrination within our public school system.  
I’m among many who are concerned that the F.A.C.T.S. committee, under the obviously tainted leadership of Lt. Gov. Robertson is unbothered by, but not unaware of, the dangerous irony in forming a committee to stand against “indoctrination” while denying Science and History.

There was no mask in sight at the podium today, nor any semblance of social distancing.
Choosing even the word “indoctrination” is a loaded and inflammatory decision that belies you true intent.  This Committee will not stand.

51:

I know of a state that has Lt. Governor who wants to inject hatred toward school teachers as his first task in office.  I know that in NC the LT. Governor has no real duties or authority, but this seems an absurd publicity stunt.  Please look into this guy’s attempts to destroy public education in NC.

63:

Our NC Lt. Governor, who advertises himself as having “traveled the state and nation spreading the conservative message”, and members of our SBOE, have an ongoing attempt to indoctrinate students into popular right-wing talking points through the manipulation of NC Social Studies Curriculum.  As a parent, this is much more concerning than individual classroom teachers parroting these same ideas, as this attempt to enforce partisan indoctrination is on a much broader scale.  These include, but are not limited to:  perpetuating a myth of American exceptionalism* in all areas, minimizing the historical impact of majority communities in the systemic oppression of minority communities, refusal to acknowledge current government systems that perpetuate racial and socioeconomic power inequities, and the denial of generations of scientific and anthropological study that acknowledge gender fluidity.

*This* attempted indoctrination of our students is of profound concern, as I send my daughter to NC Public Schools in hopes that she will be taught a genuine reflection of her state and nation’s history, and not a whitewashed/glossed over approximation that seeks to protect those in the seats of power from experiencing any discomfort--or maybe worse, experiencing a moment of genuine reflection.

This issue is ongoing, and the Lt. Governor seems to be taking no steps to resolve the problem.  If anything, he appears to be doubling-down on this right-wing indoctrination.  It is deeply disappointing, particularly coming from a brazenly-partisan politician who has never served his state as a public school teacher.

*#18th standard of living, 11th in healthcare system performance, 15th in economic opportunities for women, etc.  #1 in defense spending though, by almost 300%!  We’re number one?(!)

69:

I wanted to do a report about Tupac Shakur, but my teacher made me do a report about Mark Robinson since he is the first Black Lieutenant Governor in NC history and the first Black Republican elected to any major office since Reconstruction.  I did my research, and it turns out Robinson is a huge homophobe, Islamaphobe, and antisemite.  I complained but my teacher insisted I be exposed to conservative thought.  If you can’t fire my teacher, you should at least get Lt. Gov. Robinson to resign since he’s a hateful bigot.

70:

My daughter’s teacher recently Ms. Peffercorn was teaching the kids about left angles in her 4th grade math class.  Now I’m concerned that she is being indoctrinated with liberal propaganda because they never taught her about right angles!  I’m concerned  and really nervous for our children.

71:

My daughter is a freshman and in her class last week she was told by her History teacher that she had to use Times New Roman font in her essay.  We are offended because the Romans killed Jesus!  I can’t believe her school hates the lord!!


73:

I would like to report that Lt. Governor Mark Robinson engaged in an attempt to indoctrinate the students of North Carolina with a politically motivated, non-factual, specific interpretation of American and North Carolina history In modifying the NC State Social Studies standards which were adopted on February 4, 2021.  The proposed version of the standards reflected the consensus view of professionals in the field, including conservative, lifelong registered Republicans such as myself, but the Lieutenant Governor used his position to override these recommendations and replace them with a skewed, alternate version of the past that is not supported by the historical evidence.

Additionally, I would like to report bullying and coercion attempted by the Lieutenant Governor against educators in the state through the creation of this reporting system as a tool to force his preferred version of history on the students in North Carolina in an attempt to indoctrinate them.

This is an ongoing issue that I hope to help remedy with my vote in the next Lieutenant Gubernatorial primary and, if necessary, general elections.

131:

This is ridiculous.  What a waste of tax payers money.  You all can’t handle the truth.  There is much ugliness in this country’s history.  As there is good in our history.  Stop trying to white wash it.  There is no indoctrination going on in our schools.  Shame on you for trying to control what our teachers can teach.  This smacks of McCarthyism.  Not to mention intended polarization of our society.  Try putting your efforts to something positive that draws communities together rather than dividing. 🤦‍♀️

156:

I have multiple situations I'd like to report to the Task Force. In my 8th grade class (I am currently a high school senior) my social studies teacher had us run down the hallway and scream a Confederate War cry. Also in 8th grade, a speaker came in to present to the entire 8th grade class that a Confederate General and slave owner was a good and honorable person. I was also taught in some of my classes that the civil war happened because of "states rights," rather than slavery or the right to own slaves. I never learned about the experiences of slaves other than 'it was bad and they suffered.' There were no presentations given from the perspective of slaves. To me this is a form of indoctrinating students because it teaches a bias that ignores an entire group of people in the US who endured hundreds of years of slavery and implies the Confederacy had a legitimate cause. Later, in high school, when learning about the Cold war and communism, we only learned history that didn't include what communism actually is or what life was like for people in those communist countries. When learning about the Vietnam war, we learn that the US was like a savior for Vietnam against communism but don't learn about the war crimes, nor the atrocious dictators the US supported, and I only learned about The Pentagon Papers in my last year of High School. Lastly, throughout my middle school and some of my high school education I was told that Christopher Columbus was a good person and I wasn't taught the true history of Thanksgiving until I educated myself. I love America, but I think the the lack of teaching multiple perspectives in our history courses causes students to resent our great country. If we teach students multiple perspectives, we can learn from our history and prevent the negative aspects from re-occurring. It will help students accept our country's history and be patriotic in that they will want to work together to improve the United States, rather than resent it.

218:

The teachers at my daughter’s school are convinced that the Lt Gov is an alien and that he is bent on destroying tolerance and truth in historical teachings. This is very offensive to me. Please review.

257:

I'm reporting a racist individual spewing hate and intimidating as well as harassing teachers to push his political agenda. This anti-semitic individual is using his position of power to garner the support of white supremacists and push his radical right agenda on our curriculum in NC. Here is a YouTube video of his antisemitic racist verbal diarrhea: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCwR4sbXBcs&t=544s 

His name is Mark Robinson. I've taken steps to report his words and racist slurs to the local media and speak out against him as much as possible. Politics don't belong in schools, but he is working hard to disenfranchise students of color with his racist hate speech. He has yet to condemn anti-Asian racism in America right now, and that radical right denial of racism just has no place in our schools. Please use your Jim Crow Task Force with its Spanish Inquisition tactics and taxpayer-funded resources to self-investigate rather than harass and intimidate teachers. The parties involved are Olivia Oxendine and Catherine Truitt, working to promote a radical right agenda in public schools.

278:

Students are being indoctrinated into believing that there is no such thing as systematic racism that has been foisted upon people of color due in part to red lining, pay gaps, education gaps through tracts, or discrimetory policing and selective law enforcement.
Instead, they are forced to sit through countless lecture focusing on Euro-centric and sanitized history rather than presenting facts agreed upon by actual historians rather than two bit politicians with an agenda and a lack of candor when discussing civics, history or society

285:

Hello - I am disheartened by this blatantly political attempt to foment further partisanship by the lieutenant governor. By promoting this anti-teacher task force, the lieutenant governor is exhibiting his own bias and discrimination regarding education: it’s clear he is interested in indicting hard-working teachers based on hearsay, ignorance and innuendo. 

Plus the lieutenant governor’s outright dismissal of proposed social studies standards demonstrates that he is more interested in promoting his partisan politics than properly educating North Carolina’s students. 

Therefore I respectfully ask that the F.A.C.T.S task force investigate the lieutenant governor and his role in promoting political partisanship in education. However I would much prefer that the F.A.C.T.S task force spend their time spotlighting teachers who are tirelessly working to go above and beyond to educate their students. There are many, many teachers doing this despite what the lieutenant governor believes.

291:

Since you're using this form to find potential donors & voters, but also to find sensational stories that you can point to as extreme examples of a problem that doesn't exist, I decided to waste your time by reminding you that this racist task force emerged due to Mark Robinson's precious feelings being hurt when a child couldn't write about him for a school report. You are working on a task force because a grown man had his ego hurt by a child not being able to write about him. You must be so proud of yourself. Keep fishing. Maybe one day, you'll find that example from this form of someone doing something so just, fair, liberal, socialist (or whatever it is you're looking for) that you can have a follow-up news conference about it to emphasize your point. Or maybe continuing to talk about Tupac will end up actually working for you. Good luck finding indoctrination (aka, antiracist teaching).

292:

I teach my students that calling other people "slaves" is wrong. I know that this is my opinion and your big bad Jim Crow Task Force is gonna waste taxpayer dollars coming after me now because I am not spewing hate like your racist leader, Mark Robinson, who said this: "half of black Democrats don't realize they are slaves and don't know who their masters are. The other half don't care."  https://www.wral.com/on-facebook-nc-s-republican-candidate-for-lieutenant-governor-lashes-out-insults/19304590/ 

Since you align yourself with a man who calls people who disagree with him "slaves," it appears that you only want teachers to teach the Mark Robinson curriculum, which is hate, bigotry, and racism. Oh, and to blame all of the world's problems on socialism (not to mention fail to use apostrophes correctly). Please advise: exactly which students should we "hate" and which parents should we call "slaves?" A man with the moral authority of Mark Robinson should be able to clarify that since he believes he is capable of determining what is right and wrong to share in classrooms.

303:

My teacher tried to get me to think for myself.  That scares me because I want you, the illustrious lieutenant governor of North Carolina to do that for me.

381:

Since you refuse to name the members of your Racist Task Klan and prefer to cowardly hide behind Mark Robinson’s website and this re-election mailing list disguised as a POC reporting tool, I will leave my name anonymous, too.

I “indoctrinated” my kids by telling them not to call people insulting names.  I know that Mark Robinson loves to bully and insult people by calling them Kamala the Chameleon and Barbed Wire Joe, but I just prefer to indoctrinate my kids into treating people with a little more kindness.  I know that doesn’t sit well with racist, radical Republicans who are threatened by 9 year olds learning about our nation’s history, but I just prefer to teach kids to avoid sinking to such pathetic tactics as the ones your fearless leader likes to employ.  I also know that you prefer that we only teach reading, writing, math, science, and social studies (well, social studies that paints America as the best country on Earth that never did anything bad), but I managed to squeeze in some time to indoctrinate my students about kindness.  Please come after me and my teaching license for this blatant act of indoctrination.

Happy fishing!

388:

Lieutenant Robinson,

As a North Carolina public school teacher, this form sickens me.  What it proves, once again, is that our state legislature does not care about our public schools.  It does not care about teachers like me that are trying to teach our state’s children--and by our state’s children, I mean ALL children--something that only non-charter public schools can truly offer.  The sad truth is, I will be leaving teaching after next year primarily because of how this legislative body treats my profession.  I am someone with a Masters degree from one of the top universities in the nation.  I stay up late grading assignments and creating lesson plans, and I make $40,000 a year.  Enough is enough.  I love my kids, but I also like having my own life and decent pay to live it.  It’s just not worth it anymore.

Stop disrespecting and distrusting teachers.  Treat us like the professionals we are and pay us what we’re worth.  Then maybe people like me would stick around.  Do you not understand that you’re making teaching in NC even more of an abysmal prospect for college graduates than it already is with these kinds of offensive measures?  How dare you call me and teachers like me indoctrinators--teachers who are trying to teach about actual history, actual science, and actual truth.  Teachers who would never, *ever* tell a student what to think or do, but who understand that their job is to unlock students’ potential to make up their own minds through sound reasoning, reflection and self-awareness.

Soon, there’s going to be no one left that's willing to take abuse and belittlement from you or your colleagues.  The children of North Carolina will be the ones that take the hit when teachers skilled in their content and research-based pedagogy start leaving in droves.  And if that sounds unlikely to you, you can mark my words that it will happen if you continue to maintain these kinds of punitive, unjust, absurd policies.  And the future of our state will be endangered because of you.

There’s still time to use your power for good.  Taking down this form would be a start.

392:

How disappointing.  Is this actually an issue in schools, rather than an issue to pander to a particular constituency?  By indoctrination, do you mean the actual teaching of facts and real history that happened?  Said another way, is it indoctrination if it goes against one’s personal belief systems?

We can’t cancel or erase the facts just because we don’t like them.
F.A.C.T.:  History repeats itself and one of the best ways to avoid repeating past mistakes is to learn from them and the only way to learn from them is to learn about them.
F.A.C.T.:  We, as a country, have an abysmal history when it comes to dehumanizing others who don’t conform to the white anglo-saxon ideal.  Pretending the things we’ve done to others never happened doesn’t mean they never happened.

Forms like this, as well as HB 755, serve to do nothing but degrade, demean and demoralize teachers who work incredibly hard, only to be vilified by people with political motivations.  A year ago, teachers were hailed as heroes as they quickly pivoted to begin teaching remotely at the beginning of the pandemic.  Within a few months, the hero talk gave way to “those greedy, indoctrinating teachers” talk.  One treats teachers as professionals, the other is unfair and untrue.  You have the power to help treat educators in the professional manner they have earned the right to be treated in.

397:

Our state is being misled and misinformed by Mark Robinson’s attempts to indoctrinate the citizens of NC with this nonsense.  Our tax dollars pay his salary, and he is choosing to wage war on the amazing school teachers who bend over backwards trying to provide the best quality education under horrific conditions.  If he was a smart man, or even half way decent of a man, he would invest time into finding out what teachers need and then providing it.  He’s a joke, and people in our county are ready to get rid of him.

426:

Today, I indoctrinated my kids by teaching them to accept a set of beliefs about how it is not okay to make fun of someone's food, particularly if it is part of their cultural or ethnic heritage. I know that you prefer that we don't even discuss or teach about race or ethnicity since it is all divisive in your fragile minds, which is why I am reporting this blatant example of indoctrination so that you can waste time and money investigating it. Here's the resource, just in case you're interesting in a good old fashioned book burning or the censoring of free speech or your group's big government overreach into the classroom: 

https://www.learningforjustice.org/magazine/fall-2020/min-jees-lunch

It indoctrinates kids into thinking it's bad for them to make fun of the food people eat and that we should respect other cultures and other people's choices. Feel free to call this "Critical Race Theory" since everything about race is Critical Race Theory in your mind, and all of it is therefore bad. I'm sure the white supremacists who support your racist task force will be happy to have you go after this resource. 

Have you thought about perhaps having an "Endorsed by the F.A.C.T.S. Task Force" sticker to put on any of the whitewashed, race-neutral, non-indoctrinating books by white authors that you actually will allow people to use? That should keep your task force busy and preoccupied. It will also let me know which books NOT to use in my classroom. Happy fishing! I hope you're finding some sensationalized stories to use as examples of indoctrination that you can use for your fear-mongering campaign. Enjoy your racist witch hunt.

432:

Dear Members of the Anti-Indoctrination Clown Show (and your racist leader, Mark Robinson):
I just want to alert you anonymous racist task force members of another indoctrination attempt in the classroom. I told kids that Columbus didn't discover America because indigenous people already lived there. I'm assuming that the members of this racist task force believe Native Americans are savage and uncultured, much like your colleage, Rick Santorum, who said nothing was here before Columbus got here, and that Native American's don't have culture. I also assume that your clown show ring-leader Mark Robinson has some choice, racist things to say about Native Americans given the fact that he has awful, bigoted things to say about every non-white race. Since your task force is so afraid of 9 year olds learning about our actual history, I figured I'd share that I'm one of the many teachers you can try to write a sensationalized news story about so you can get enough votes to keep you in office for years to come. There are enough uneducated, racist white supremacists who believe the jargon you are spitting out, and who are attacking a 1970s sociological theory nobody is even teaching in k-12 schools (Critical Race Theory) that you will surely be able to leverage racism into votes. Congratulates on sinking so low to stay in office.

476:

This description has been censored to remove any words that your w**t* sup*****y task force objects to seeing or hearing in K-12 schools.

I am aware of teachers talking about r*c* and rac*is* in schools. This goes against my beliefs as a Christian and what is taught in the Bible. I know that DPI is currently a Christian organization under the helm of grandmaster Truitt, blessed be her name. We also honor Mark Robinson, for teaching a new generation of rac**** and big*** how to be new-rac*is**. The new-rac**m he preaches and teaches makes it safe to be a rac*st conservative again. 

We also support the ban on C*T, even thought we don't know what it is and it isn't being taught in schools. A hallmark foundation of the new Trumpist conservative movement is to attack anything too difficult for us to comprehend if we can use it as a scapegoat to mobilize the base. 

Thank you for censoring our teachers. We need bodycams and conservative classroom observers in every classroom. We need to be able to live stream and punish teachers who teach democratic ideas and honor teachers who teach the new conservative ideals of whi** suprema**, censorship, scapegoating, lies, and unconditional support of Tucker Carlson.

481:

I saw a teacher who had a copy of Ibram Kendi's book: How to Be an Antiracist, in her classroom on her personal bookshelf. I know that Phil Berger says that Ibram Kendi once criticized capitalism and the senate leader then said that the fact that a school system in NC paid to have him speak, that means there is CRT in the classrooms. Since you and your unnamed anti-CRT clique meet in your little treehouse to stop CRT, please advise on what actions I should take. If you are thinking a good old-fashioned book burning, please indicate which form of charcoal or kindling to use to burn Ibram Kendi's book. Please also indicate what other titles we should burn. Like you, I don't think for myself, so please tell me if we do or don't support Dr. Seuss anymore. I need bigots like Mark Robinson to tell me what to believe. If he says burn it, I will. I imagine he wants us to shoot the books with our assault rifles first, then burn them. Please advise.

495:

Recently your boss, the lieutenant governor, issued a statement denouncing Ibram X. Kendi’s recent webinar with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Mr. Robinson’s statement made many presumptions and offered thoughts based on those presumptions which were wrong. It seems as if the Lt. Governor has a rather weak understanding of what Critical Race Theory really is, and he wrongfully presumes school districts across the state are pushing to teach it. He also presumed Professor Kendi spoke extensively about CRT in his talk, this was also wrong.

It needs to be documented that public officials like our Lt. Governor plus the leader of the NC Senate are pushing false narratives about education and our schools. This needs to stop. These comments are crafted solely to get the attention of your supporters, they do not educate or further any debate about race relations.

I request that Mr. Robinson stopped trying to push false narratives and condemning people, and school districts, before he has all the facts. The FACTS group needs to fully examine Mr. Robinson’s statements regarding education and let the public know that he is trying to indoctrinate NC citizens to follow his beliefs and not facts.

500:

I have strong concerns about the efforts of certain leaders to limit the knowledge of our children. In the introduction to this form, it states the purpose is to hold public schools accountable “… by exposing indoctrination in the classroom and ensuring that our students are taught how to think - not what to think.” How can our students be taught HOW to think when people/leaders within our state are attempting to limit the facts that they need in order to use critical thinking skills and draw conclusions? It also speaks that its purpose is “To assist in holding local and county-level education officials accountable for what occurs in their schools.” Who is holding our state leaders accountable for attempting to destroy both our true history and our public education system? Under “what to submit” it states, “Examples of students being subjected to indoctrination according to a political agenda or ideology, whether through assigned work, teacher comments, or a hostile classroom environment.” I am reporting you and much of our Republican leadership for attempting to subject our students to indoctrination due to your political agenda. Indoctrination occurs through the use of Memory Laws where leaders attempt to control the masses by not allowing them to know/learn the actual and complete truth, such as the history of white supremacy and racism in our country. Sound familiar? If parents want their children to only learn what makes them comfortable, they have the option to find a private school that only teaches those tenets. Public schools are for the public, and as such, all of our children and their cultures should be reflected in the curriculum. I find it ironic that this “Taskforce” uses F.A.C.T.S. as its acronym. There is nothing about its underlying goal that deals in facts. As a tax paying citizen and voter who believes in actual FACTS, democracy, critical thinking, and making sure our children are not being indoctrinated by those actually supporting indoctrination, I expect you to reflect and look into what you are doing

502:

Dear White Folks Intent on Censoring Teachers of Color and Canceling History:

I indoctrinated my 5th graders this year when I taught the Revolutionary War. I taught the American History, and according to small-minded racists like the ones on this Witch Hunt Pro-Censorship Task Force, teaching history is Critical Race Theory. I included words like "Black" and "Freedom" as I talked about our nation's founding. Also, as a teacher of color in a public school (something you folks want to get rid of and privatize anyway), that must mean I did everything wrong. I did not live up to your white standards and I taught curiosity, not censorship, which seems to be the ideal you appreciate more than inquiry and inquisitiveness. Thanks so your work on this racist task force and for reminding us why we need to work harder in public schools to prevent people from growing up and becoming as biased, racist, and gullible as yourselves. I want my students to learn to actually think about things, rather than doing what you all do by blindly believing anti-history nonsense by political operatives

Speaking of indoctrination, a State Board of Education member wants new social studies standards to teach students that America is great.

Indoctrination has been a hot topic in North Carolina education policy discussions lately.

Last month the NC House of Representatives passed a law entitled “An Act to Ensure Academic Transparency” which would require teachers to post their lesson plans and details about all instructional materials online for public review.

In defense of their support for the new legislation, which passed almost entirely along partisan lines, some Republican legislators cited the need to prevent indoctrination of North Carolina students.

Iredell County Representative Jeffrey McNeely said, “Hopefully we’re just gonna teach the kids. We’re not gonna try to indoctrinate ’em or teach ’em in a certain way to make ’em believe something other than the facts.”

At its meeting today, the North Carolina State Board of Education reviewed glossaries and unpacking documents related to new state social studies standards which will be implemented in school year 2021-22. (Unpacking documents are overarching documents intended to help teachers understand how the standards should be taught).

During the discussion, board member Amy White expressed her view that the standards unpacking documents needed to ensure North Carolina teachers are teaching their students that America is a great nation.

Audio is fairly poor quality, so I’ve included a transcript below it.

One final question. Several months ago in our discussion about standards, I made a comment from the table about the foundation of our social studies curriculum being anchored in the thought and the premise that America is a great nation. And is there any place for inclusion in that foundation as a preamble to all of these documents together that we are educating our students about our history both positive and negative but that through our challenges through sacrifices through our triumphs that America is a nation today that we should be proud of and blessed to live in?

In an effort to help our students better understand about their role as future leaders in this nation. And I really think that a document or a statement underlining that fact that our teachers teaching in the public schools should be making every effort to help our students understand our history as it impacts the socioeconomics, diversity, economic development and future development of this country. It’s important that we undergird that with the idea that we live in a tremendously prosperous land.

The board agreed to take Ms. White’s suggestion under consideration and bring it back for additional discussion at next month’s meeting.

Whether or not you see America as a great nation depends on how you and your ancestors have experienced life in the United States.

But the larger point here is that social studies classes should not be a place where students come to learn that their country is great. It should be a place where they can learn the truth about their own history and the history of others and then develop their own views based on the facts.

I trust that Representative McNeely will be reaching out to Ms. White in order to express his disapproval.

Mecklenburg County plan to withhold school funds represents a 180 for two former Board of Education members

Charlotte Mecklenburg Board of Education, 2004

One of the saddest parts of the year-long debate over Mecklenburg County’s plan to withhold funding from Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools has been the dramatic change in philosophy it represents for two former school board members who now serve on the Board of County Commissioners.

Board Chair George Dunlap served on the Charlotte Mecklenburg Board of Education representing District 3 from 1995 to 2008, and Commissioner Vilma Leake was the Board of Education District 2 representative from 1997 to 2008.

Over the past year, both have been enthusiastic supporters of plans to hold back education funding in a supposed attempt to address the achievement gap. Leake was first to suggest the approach at the 2020 Budget Straw Vote session. 

But archived Charlotte Mecklenburg Board of Education meeting minutes show that, while in their former roles, both Dunlap and Leake understood the vital importance of local funding for improving student outcomes and were frustrated when Mecklenburg County failed to provide adequate resources at the time.

At a September 2004 meeting, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Board of Education heard a recommendation from Superintendent James Pughsley to approve the 2004-05 CMS budget.

In his comments, Pughsley expressed concern that local funding had not kept pace with the school district’s growth, explaining that the lack of county funding would mean cuts that would “have an impact on teaching and learning.”

In the discussion that followed Superintendent Pughsley’s presentation, Board member George Dunlap noted that insufficient county funds would harm efforts to improve student achievement and said voters should hold commissioners accountable for their lack of support for the school district:

Mr. Dunlap reported that the budget that has been presented is what Dr. Pughsley believes best suits the needs of the children in the community and he is the one who will be held accountable. To move dollars here or there will not help him achieve his goals. It should be unquestionable what you do with a budget that is millions and millions of dollars less than what you need to achieve the things you had hoped to achieve. Mr. Dunlap reported that Dr. Pughsley had proposed initiatives to improve students who are low performing and, as a result of the budget cuts, some of those would not be realized. He stated it is very important for the public to be aware of this during the election year.

George Dunlap’s take on the budget in 2004 differs sharply with his current approach as Chair of the Board of County Commissioners.

At a May 25, 2021 meeting between Dunlap, County Manager Dena Diorio, Board of Education Chair Elyse Dashew and Superintendent Earnest Winston, Dunlap seemed shocked the district would even imagine that its request from the county might be fully funded:

Dunlap:  So, one of the things that was said was that we underfunded CMS to the tune of ninety something million.  And so, what that meant was that we underfunded the fifty-six, plus the amount that you asked for that you didn’t get.  Which suggests that you are under the impression that whatever you ask for you should get.  Now that was released by CMS.  Am I correct in that?

Dashew:  Ninety-six million. I don’t recall that number.


Winston:  I think it was eighty, it was eighty-one million.  And I think, Chairman Dunlap, what we did, and we went through a very methodical process with our budget that included community input and everything that we requested as part of that budget ask was everything that we thought we needed to appropriately and effectively educate our students.  So we didn’t…another way of saying that is that there wasn’t any fluff in that budget.  And we requested what we needed to educate kids.

Diorio:  But you do it every year.  And we never fully fund your request.  This is no different than any other year. 


Back to the 2004 Board of Education budget discussion. 

In her comments at the meeting, Vilma Leake went even further than Dunlap, blasting commissioners for playing politics and suggesting that, if the county was not willing to provide the funding needed to educate at-risk students, perhaps a lawsuit was necessary:

Ms. Leake asked how do you hold Dr. Pughsley and this Board accountable when the County has not provided funds in three years? She asked the County Commissioners to provide the funds to educate our children and not be political in the process because the children are the ones who lose in this process. Ms. Leake expressed a concern for at-risk students not receiving the funds they need to be educated. Ms. Leake encouraged the public to ask the County Commissioners to provide the funds necessary to educate the children. She suggested perhaps CMS or the public could bring a lawsuit against the County to make them provide the funds necessary to educate the children like they did in Guilford County.

Leake’s 2004 comments contrast distinctly with her 2020 move to punish Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools for not adequately educating children.  

At last year’s Budget Straw Vote session, Leake was the one to first raise the idea of placing funds in restricted contingency due to low student achievement in order to show the public that she was willing to be tough on the school board:

Dunlap:  All right, Commissioner Leake?

Leake:  Yes, let me look at, I want to find out how I can take some money from the Charlotte Mecklenburg School Board as it relates to student assignment and educating our children, cause that’s not what they’re doing.  The scores are still the same, or less, and they’re not putting teachers appropriately.  How and where can I take funds to show the public that we have to say to the school board “You must use this money to educate our children”?


Leake proposed withholding 30% of CMS’s instructional budget, which County Manager Diorio informed her would come to $84 million.  Leake then reduced her proposed amount to be withheld from CMS to $30 million.

The motion was tabled when commissioners couldn’t come up with a process that would allow for the release of the money. 

One year later it’s been resurrected and nearly doubled to $56 million that will be withheld from the district until CMS officials produce a plan for closing the achievement gap that satisfies commissioners. The Board will meet on Tuesday, June 1 to vote on the fiscal year 2022 budget.

What we could really use right now is the chance to have 2004 George Dunlap and Vilma Leake come and present to the 2021 Board of County Commissioners about the need for the county to provide adequate resources for Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools and to trust our Board of Education and district leadership to thoughtfully engage in the hard work of addressing the achievement gap.

Perhaps they could convince commissioners that when much-needed resources are held over the head of Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, the children are the ones who lose.

**Credit to Laurel Brooks for unearthing the 2004 CMS minutes, which you can view in their entirety below**

091404-Regular-Board-Meeting

CMS sets the record straight on county plan to withhold funding: “Funding reductions and holdbacks of this magnitude impact the classroom. Period.”

On Tuesday, Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools released the following FAQ to clarify some important issues around Mecklenburg County’s plan to withhold $56 million from the district’s budget for the upcoming school year:

Frequently Asked QuestionsCharlotte-Mecklenburg Schools BudgetMay 2021

Q:        Why doesn’t CMS share its plan to improve academic outcomes? 

A:        CMS has shared our 2024 strategic plan with the Board of County Commissioners as recently as May 4, 2021. We began implementing this plan in 2018. Our plan addresses outcomes for all students. The Board of Education and CMS staff continue to fine-tune and revise our strategic plan in light of the impact of the pandemic. We look forward to sharing the results of this governance work at the appropriate time. 


Q:        Weren’t many of these problems pervasive pre-pandemic? 

A:        Disparities in educational outcomes for black and brown students have existed in Mecklenburg County and across the nation for decades, just as have disparities in housing, economic opportunity/wages and many other areas. There are many underlying reasons for these gaps existing and widening, including factors beyond the control of public schools. Erosions over the past two-plus decades in the successful reforms enacted after the historic Swann decision 50 years ago are among the causes. Further inequities in housing, food insecurity, wage gaps and other factors that impact students in the 128 hours per week when they are not in the care of our schools also must be addressed.  The pandemic has magnified all of these factors. The school system cannot be looked upon in a vacuum when other community ills contribute to the difficulties of addressing educational outcomes. 


Q:        What is the projected enrollment number for next school year and how does this differ from recent enrollment numbers?  How does this affect CMS’s per-pupil budget request to the County?

A:        Projected student enrollment for CMS for FY2022 is 143,856 which is higher than the actual enrollment for FY2021 at 140,070.  It is important to note that while the FY2021 budget was based on a higher projected enrollment than actually materialized, the state held districts harmless at projected funding levels. CMS followed the state’s lead by retaining staff and maintaining planned allocations to schools to avoid disruption to classes. The district also provided additional support and avoided terminating employees in the midst of the pandemic.  To date, CMS has continued to employ staff and prevent layoffs, and furloughs. The budget request for additional funding for next year is a prime example of how per pupil funding may increase year-over-year.  For example, salary and benefit increases for existing staff will increase the per pupil amount even without any change in enrollment. The request for operating costs for new schools and preventive maintenance for existing facilities is needed regardless of changes in enrollment.  The request for additional social and emotional support staffing represents an ongoing need to reduce the ratios of staffing to students to meet the needs of students – now more than ever – but was needed long before the pandemic and is also not impacted by the level of enrollment shifts this past year.  Bottom line, the budget is not built on a per pupil basis. Instead, the request is driven by and based on additional funding needs.


Q:        County officials say their recommended budget contingency will not impact the classroom. CMS says it will – can you explain? 

A:        Funding reductions and holdbacks of this magnitude impact the classroom. Period. County funding is used to supplement what we receive in state and other funding sources. Many of the expenses paid with county funds cannot be paid with state funding – even if we had the funds available, which we do not.  The recommended allocation completely eliminates the funding in several categories and decimates a few others so operating with this “holdback” of funding as outlined will be extremely problematic.  Local funding pays a portion of salaries for principals. For many assistant principals, entire salaries are locally funded. Another example: the county proposal reduces the budget for Finance and Human Resources by about half of the total planned local funding. Hiring and paying teachers, assistant teachers and other school-based staff are critical functions of these areas. Doing this work with significantly fewer staff will impact our classrooms.   


Q:        CMS says the funding gap is $81 million. The BOCC says they are funding at a higher rate than last year. What’s the reality? 

A:        With a $24.5 million portion of our total local funding request unfunded and the $56 million held in “restricted contingency,” we must prepare a budget as if our request is underfunded by about $81 million. The recommended county budget allocation to CMS for next year is $526.9 million. This is actually only $2 million more than the prior year. However, the prior year allocation designated $4.1 million as one-time funding (for the system modernization project and preventive maintenance) so the base ongoing amount decreased to $520.8 million. Thus the increase referenced by the county manager as $6.1 million is from that lower base amount.  The county manager outlined the recommended allocation for the $6.1 million increase, but that leaves us with $24.5 million in identified needs that remain unfunded – some of which will likely be required to provide locally funded teachers and other staff the same salary and benefit increases mandated by the state and to cover the charter school pass-through cost. As a result, we must cut or downsize programs, put off facility maintenance efforts and delay hiring or reduce staff.  We cannot budget for the school year with a deficit, and it is not fiscally sound to consider $56 million in a “restricted contingency” funding as part of our planned spend for the year until it is released from restriction.  


Q:        Is the BOCC claim that some NC counties don’t receive county funding true? 

A:        All counties receive some level of funding support from their respective county.   


Q:        Why does CMS need $551 million of county funding when the district is receiving $500 million in federal COVID relief money? 

A:        Federal funding must be used in addition to, not in place of, annual state and local funding. The COVID-related federal funding has specific allowable uses that must be directly linked to the prevention of, reduction of or in response to COVID-19.  Almost all components of our budget request for county funding are ongoing recurring expenses that existed prior to and will remain after the pandemic subsides.  The request does not include expenses incurred due to impacts of the pandemic, as those will be addressed with the COVID relief funding


Q:        Can federal dollars identified in the CMS budget request be used to pay for maintenance expenses that CMS has sought from the county?

A:        No. Federal funding must be used in addition to, not in place of annual state and local funding. The COVID-related federal funding has specific allowable uses that must be directly linked to the prevention of, reduction of, or in response to COVID-19. During the budget planning process, the list of facility needs was reviewed and items that are related to improving indoor air quality or reducing the spread of COVID-19 were identified to be included within the COVID-related federal funding. Items under the county request are preventive maintenance items that would not be allowable on the COVID related federal funding.


Q:        Is CMS requesting double-billing of funds for charter school students? 

A:        No, the district is not “double billing” for charter students.   CMS budgets for staffing, services and materials to support the district’s enrollment and operations of district schools. Then, based on the estimated local per pupil funding anticipated for the next year (using the combined district and charter enrollment to compute the per pupil amount), a budget is calculated for the charter school pass-through payments which is incorporated into the overall district budget. 

While we do consider the charter enrollment in our budget development process, we do not include the projected charter enrollment as we determine the necessary staffing and support for our district schools; therefore, we are not “double billing” for the charter enrollment in the budget request.  Furthermore, this budgeting exercise is recalculated each budget cycle to ensure we adjust for any shifts in enrollment between our schools and charters from year to year.   


Q:        If the state adopts a budget increasing salaries for state-funded employees, will county-funded employees receive the same increase under the current county budget recommendation? 

A:        It is the district’s practice to provide the same salary increase for all employees as mandated by the state for state paid employees. This was a part of our budget request from the county. The proposed county funding is not sufficient to cover the anticipated salary and benefit increases so reductions in other areas will be necessary to ensure all of our staff receive any salary increases mandated by the state that they so deserve. 


Q:        Does the county proposal reduce the CMS budget allocation from the county?

A:        The holdback of funding and uncertainty of when it will be released creates a situation for the district to plan a budget that is without that funding.  That is the most fiscally responsible action to take in this circumstance.


Q:        What about the “unbudgeted” $320 million in federal revenue in CMS’s proposed budget for FY2022? Why has no spending plan been identified for these funds?

A:        During the months of budget development work, we were not aware of the American Rescue Plan funding amount and only added an estimate just prior to presenting the budget – even before the state had given us an indication of our allocation. We did this in the spirit of transparency to ensure the community was aware that we anticipated having access to these COVID relief funds over the next few school years. We also discussed at length our intent to prepare a budget using a wide range of stakeholder input and thoughtful review of needs. Additional but yet-to-be-identified factors likely must be addressed in the continued response to COVID-19, and for that reason federal authorities allow districts until 2024 to use the most recent COVID-related funding. The board of education and the community will be informed once this budget plan is finalized and funding is made available for us to use for COVID-related expenses.  


Q:        Is CMS’s policy IKE still in effect?

A:        Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education Policy IKE governs student Promotion, Retention, and Acceleration and is in effect.  All components of policy IKE are still in effect. House Bill 82, which is the basis for the Camp CMS summer learning and enrichment program, prohibits the retention of kindergarten students. Students in other grades who are retained at the conclusion of the 2020-2021 and successfully complete Camp CMS must have their retention reviewed to determine if it is still warranted.  


Q:        Is CMS providing individual plans to support all students who qualify for MTSS interventions? 

A:        The individual plan requirements previously in place were based on a state statute from 2008. That statute has been updated numerous times since then and there is no current requirement that each student be provided such a plan. 


Q:        Mecklenburg County officials claim that CMS operates 166 schools and CMS says it operates 176 schools. What is the accurate number? 

A:        CMS operates 176 schools. The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction website supports this fact. 

Mecklenburg County funding proposal threatens students and teachers

County Manager Dena Diorio proposes placing $56 million of CMS’s budget in restricted contingency

This week the growing beef between Mecklenburg County and Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools took an unexpectedly ugly turn when County Commission Chairman George Dunlap threatened to withdraw county funding for the school district entirely.

The threat came in response to a Board of Education statement that the BOE would “pursue the avenues available to us” if commissioners approve County Manager Dena Diorio’s proposal to withhold $56 million in the FY 2022 budget until CMS provides an acceptable plan for closing the achievement gap.

County funding for CMS constitutes roughly one third of the district’s operating budget and last year came in at $530 million.

It seems unlikely that the county would take such a catastrophic step, and it’s worth noting that–despite Dunlap’s claim–there are actually no North Carolina school districts that operate without local funding.  However, so far only one commissioner has publicly opposed Diorio’s proposal to hold $56 million of CMS’s funds in restricted contingency. 

Whether it’s $56 million or $530 million, we need to have a real conversation about who is most threatened by talk of withholding funds from Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools.  

News accounts and rhetoric by commissioners publicly supporting this approach have primarily framed this conflict as county leadership demanding more accountability from our Board of Education and school district leaders. 

But board members and executive administration don’t work in the schools that rely on that funding to do the day to day work of educating and supporting our children.  It’s our school building-level educators and students that stand to lose the most if the already insufficient resources we have to work with are reduced even further.

Commissioners who support the idea of withholding CMS funds will probably tell you it’s not punitive.  Just this week Commissioner Vilma Leake said “It’s not about taking money from the school district.  It’s about making sure that we hold you accountable for why we elected you to educate our children.” 

Let’s not forget that Commissioner Leake was actually the first one to raise the idea of placing school district funds in restricted contingency almost exactly a year ago.  At the 2020 straw vote session, Leake said CMS was failing to educate children and asked how she could take funds from the school board.

Leake proposed withholding 30% of CMS’s instructional budget, which County Manager Diorio informed her would come to $84m.  Leake then reduced her proposed amount to be withheld from CMS to $30m.

The motion was tabled when commissioners couldn’t come up with metrics that would allow for the release of the money.  One year later it’s been resurrected and nearly doubled to $56 million.

So the idea of withholding money from CMS pending the district meeting certain conditions was punitive from its inception.  Don’t say “How can I take funds?” and then turn around and say “It’s not about taking money.”

Does our school district need to be more intentional and transparent about closing the achievement gap?  Yes.  Do our leadership bodies need to do a better job at working together in general and, specifically, finding new ways to collaborate on addressing educational inequities?  Absolutely.  

This is not the way we make either of those things happen.

An incredibly difficult pandemic school year is drawing to a close–one in which students, teachers, administrators, bus drivers, nurses, and all members of our public school families have been stretched to the breaking point again and again.  

As we continue this important conversation about the Mecklenburg budget, our county leaders need to avoid the usual platitudes to educators along the lines of  “Thank you for everything you do for our children” if they’re going to threaten to take away the resources we depend on to do that work with the very next breath.  



A state legislator is howling indoctrination because my 7th graders are learning the ocean is polluted

A member of the North Carolina House of Representatives held up my teaching as an example of harmful indoctrination of children this week as state legislators met to discuss a new bill which would require teachers to post their lesson plans online for public review.

The K-12 Education Committee approved HB 755, also known as “An Act to Ensure Academic Transparency.” It passed the House by a vote of 66-50 and now moves on to the Senate.  

The legislation mandates that all lesson plans, including information about any supporting instructional materials as well as procedures for how an in-person review of lesson materials may be requested, be “prominently displayed” on school websites.  

Iredell County Republican Representative Jeffrey McNeely gave the bill two enthusiastic thumbs up, pointing to my teaching as an example of the hidden indoctrination that will be exposed if the bill is passed into law:

We tend to come to teach our kids with everything with a twist to it.  And I think transparency is one of the most important things we can do, and maybe what we’ve learned from this pandemic, through virtual, some of the parents actually seeing what their children are taught and how they’re taught. 

I saw in the Charlotte Observer the other week a English teacher was complaining because he had to do remote learning and in-person learning at the same time and it caused him to shorten his English class on environmental pollution. 

What you think about that? 

So I think this putting out to me this will help the parents going to the next grade be able to look and see what that teacher taught the year before, and hopefully we’re just gonna teach the kids, we’re not gonna try to indoctrinate ’em or teach ’em in a certain way to make ’em believe something other than the facts, the knowledge, the ability to write the ability to read.

McNeely is referring to an editorial I published in the Charlotte Observer last week about my experiences with hybrid teaching during the COVID 19 pandemic.  In the article I discussed being in the middle of a lesson with students both in person and on Zoom when the fire alarm rang, forcing me to prematurely end class for my remote students in the middle of an important conversation.

The Iredell County legislator ignored the overall point I was making about the challenges the pandemic has wrought for teachers and students, directing his tunnel vision at my opening words:  “Not long ago I was leading a discussion about environmental pollution with my 7th grade English class…

For McNeely, this line, which I “prominently displayed” in the state’s three largest newspapers, exposes a sinister plot to deviate from state standards in support of the leftist agenda.  Why else would an English teacher be discussing environmental pollution with students, if not “to make ’em believe something other than the facts, the knowledge, the ability to write the ability to read”?

I teach 7th grade English Language Arts in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools.  We use EL Education’s Language Arts curriculum, which is organized into modules that last several weeks.  (The curriculum is open source, so materials are prominently displayed here.)

While working toward mastering state ELA standards, this year my students have studied the Lost Children of Sudan and the Harlem Renaissance, and right now we’re learning about plastic pollution.  Through our current module, Mecklenburg County’s 7th grade students have gained an understanding of how plastic has become an integral part of our lives over the years but also how much of it makes its way into the world’s oceans as microplastics, harming wildlife and posing a threat to humans as well.  

not “something other than the facts”

Not having a background in education, Representative McNeely may not be aware that teaching students to read and write involves selecting topics for them to read and write about

This process allows teachers to create a broad and engaging educational experience for students and enables us to integrate instruction across subject areas so that our students see connections in class content between my English class, for example, and their social studies, science, and math classes.  It’s not a leftist plot, it’s how school is supposed to work.  

This drum beating over indoctrination of students is getting completely absurd.  

The vast majority of the public trusts teachers to do their jobs and understands that we already have way too much on our plates without adding the enormous burden of posting everything we do in class online for the pleasure of Representative McNeely and the fringe handful of his constituents who are convinced they’re fighting an end of days culture war.

McNeely and his misguided colleagues need to put down their pitchforks and focus on doing what they were elected to do:  creating policies which will actually improve the lives of North Carolinians.

Hybrid COVID-19 classrooms are not sustainable for NC schools

*this article originally appeared in the Charlotte Observer

Not long ago I was leading a discussion about environmental pollution with my 7th grade English class when the fire alarm rang. Fire alarms are a regular occurrence in schools, but this time I happened to have half my class present in the room and the other half attending on Zoom. With no idea whether it was a drill or a real fire, I was forced to tell my remote students class was ending, quickly shut down my laptop and lead my in-person students out to safety in the parking lot.

In a school year where unexpected challenges have become commonplace, this SNAFU didn’t seem to faze students. But as their teacher it struck me as a vivid example of the limitations of the hybrid model.

Hybrid teaching has been absolutely necessary this year. The COVID pandemic has killed almost 600,000 Americans and it’s still not over. It has been crucial to provide families with a remote option so they can make the right decisions for their own health and safety, and conducting business in survival mode has meant that public schools have not had the time or resources to create high quality virtual-only alternatives.

The result has been teachers doing the best they can to teach both online and in-person students at the same time. This approach has had definite drawbacks. Students who are learning from home are often not getting the individual attention they need, and those in the classroom are still spending way too much time staring at screens. With the added chaos of regular technology challenges, it has been far too easy for unengaged students to slip through the cracks despite the valiant efforts of their teachers to hold it all together. And the time and energy required to teach two different ways at once has many educators on the edge of burnout.

Too often our practice as a society is to put more and more on the plates of classroom teachers without sufficient attention to how our actions are impacting staff morale or the quality of instruction. As this school year draws to a close, it’s time to talk about how we will handle remote learning going forward to ensure that it’s a good experience for all stakeholders.

Necessity is the mother of invention, and the innovation this health crisis has required has revealed things about all of us that we didn’t previously know. Virtual learning has worked very well for some. Certain teachers have developed amazing online teaching skills, and some students have flourished with the added responsibility and independence that it takes for successful learning from home. Having had a year to watch things play out, public school parents in many North Carolina counties are calling for an expansion of remote alternatives beyond the pandemic.

Durham Public Schools has already announced the launch of a new all-remote academy for the 2021-22 school year. Wake County is in the planning phase of a similar move. For its part, Charlotte-Mecklenburg is getting ready to survey parents to gauge interest. Legislation has been filed in both the North Carolina House and Senate which could also impact how virtual schools operate in the fall, so there are quite a few balls still in the air. All of which will cost money. Lawmakers should be prepared to help districts pay.

As our decision makers wrestle with how to chart the right path forward for virtual learning, the starting point must be acknowledging that hybrid learning is a “break in case of emergency” only option. Remote learning should require a long term commitment by families, and virtual schools need to be staffed by teachers who are skilled at that work and are able to focus on it exclusively.

Good teaching requires continual reflection on what’s working and what isn’t in an effort to continually improve. Here’s hoping that approach shapes policy decisions on virtual schools as well.