[CAROLINA JOURNAL] Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson in March announced the launch of a task force to address growing concern grew among public school parents about political and cultural indoctrination in the classroom, specifically related to Critical Race Theory.
The task force, called Fairness and Accountability in the Classroom for Teachers and Students , or F.A.C.T.S., is composed of education professionals representing all levels of K-12 — including teachers, administrators, and university professors. The group opened a submission portal for concerned parents, teachers, and residents to report examples of possible indoctrination in violation of the Code of Ethics for North Carolina Educators.
Carolina Journal was able to review a sample of submissions to the portal in advance of the task force’s first release and analysis of initial findings. While the open submission portal provided for a smattering of messages from political trolls and plenty of unactionable complaints about the state of education in general, the first round of submissions also yielded a bevy of tangible examples of tenets of CRT in classroom and district administrations.
One parent of a Wake County high school student described assignments from her child’s English teacher that focused specifically on white privilege and systemic racism, not as general concepts and definitions but presented as a certified perspective. In one assignment, students were told to select among content from the New York Times, a video series titled ‘Who Me? Biased?,’ to evaluate examples of the aforementioned terms. One episode is labeled, ‘Peanut Butter, Jelly, and Racism,’ and argues implicit bias is a more subtle form of racism that everyone, even the students, is engaged in.
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“I felt it totally inappropriate but my daughter was afraid for me to say anything because of whatever backlash may occur,” reported the parent. “I simply told her not to take part in that assignment. I nor my child should [not] be afraid to speak up due to fear of what my child may have to face.”
That’s one teacher, but the Wake County Public Schools System, the largest district in the state, has itself garnered national attention for incorporating CRT at a professional development level. The City Journal’s Christopher Rufo reported on “an equity-themed teachers’ conference with sessions on “whiteness,” “microaggressions,” “racial mapping,” and “disrupting texts,” encouraging educators to form “equity teams” in schools and push the new party line: “antiracism.”
Several submissions to the task force portal drew attention to this specific teacher training in Wake County.
“Despite the claims of some progressives, the threat of critical race theory is real, and the racial divisiveness championed by proponents of CRT is terrifying,” says Dr. Terry Stoops, a member of the task force and director of the Center for Effective Education at the John Locke Foundation.
Stoops emphasized that this is only the initial round of collections, and he expects the portal to remain active in routinely evaluating submissions of objectionable material. More important, Stoops suggests, the effort has already validated concerns from parents and teachers in the face of active denials by some education leaders and anti-racist activists themselves.
“Where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” Stoops noted. “Before Lieutenant Governor Robinson created the task force, parents in Wake and Mecklenburg counties complained about the distribution of ‘white privilege’ worksheets. The addition of F.A.C.T.S. submissions confirms that a segment of North Carolina’s teacher workforce has embraced critical race theory and incorporated elements of it into classroom instruction.”
Many teachers, too, describing their plight of self-censorship amid fears of reprisal, used the portal to share their concerns about CRT, and leftist political agenda in general, dominating their schools. A self-labeled conservative teacher wrote about the high amount of comfort with which some teachers engage students in political activism such as ‘Red4Ed.’
“We all know this is a political movement, not just a teachers’ rights movement,” the teacher writes. “By encouraging students we are turning them into political activists. If teachers want to wear it, I don’t care. But it shouldn’t be discussed with students or encouraged by way of student support. […] I am one of many conservative teachers in this area, and we have been done with this issue for a long time, but have few avenues [to speak out] that won’t put our careers on the line.”