Lt. Gov. decries politicization of NC classrooms
Posted March 16, 2021 4:19 p.m. EDT
Updated March 16, 2021 7:06 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson said Tuesday that some North Carolina teachers are inserting their political and cultural ideologies into what's being taught in their classrooms, and he wants to put an end to that practice.
"The classroom should be a place for education, not a place where people's opinions are pushed on our children," Robinson said in announcing the creation of the Fairness and Accountability in the Classroom for Teachers and Students task force, or FACTS.
"We call it indoctrination, but it could be called many things. It could be called politicizing the classroom," he said.
While campaigning for office last year, Robinson said, he was "besieged" by parents and teachers complaining about the curriculum teachers were supposed to be presenting to students. They felt they had nowhere to turn with their concerns, he said, so FACTS will provide that resource.
"There are parents and teachers who are literally afraid to speak up against school boards, against principals [and] against administrators, and folks, that has got to stop," he said. "School is supposed to be a safe place for people to go for the purpose of instruction."
The 12-member FACTS task force will first compile reports of teachers pushing an ideology on students to determine how widespread the issue and if there are any commonalities. Then, the group will determine if the issue needs to be addressed through policy changes by the State Board of Education or changes to state law by the General Assembly.
Robinson related the story of a student who wanted to do a Black History Month report on him as North Carolina's first Black lieutenant governor, but the teacher refused and told the student to instead write a report on slain rapper Tupac Shakur.
"I guess she doesn't like my politics," Robinson, a Republican, said of the teacher. "Instead, she gave her somebody [to write about] who was completely contrary to what her parents were in favor of."
He insisted the task force won't merely target liberal teachers, saying conservative viewpoints need to be removed from classrooms as well.
"It's not about left or right. It's about doing what's right," he said. "If I go into the classroom and I can't put my opinions aside long enough to go inside the classroom and give impressionable young minds just the facts without my opinions, I have failed as an educator."