Last month, NC Family shared about North Carolina’s new Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson’s initiative to combat bias, indoctrination, and discrimination in our state’s education system. The Lieutenant Governor’s F.A.C.T.S. Task Force—which stands for Fairness and Accountability in the Classroom for Teachers and Students—works to support parents, teachers, and students who are “willing to stand up for North Carolina’s future by exposing indoctrination in the classroom, and ensuring that our students are taught how to think, not what to think.”
We are excited to welcome Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson to NC Family’s Family Policy Matters radio show and podcast this week to discuss his F.A.C.T.S. Task Force, and his thoughts on the state of public education in North Carolina. You do not want to miss this show!
After hearing from more and more parents and educators about the indoctrination and discrimination they are experiencing in our state’s public education system, Lt. Gov. Robinson decided to start this task force in order to give these people “a place where they could bring their complaints, and not just have them heard, but actually figure out a way to do something about this.”
“It’s not just about indoctrination in the classroom,” continues Lt. Gov. Robinson. “It’s also about bias in the classroom, where conservative voices, Christian voices, are being pushed out of the conversation, or not being allowed to be a part of the conversation. […] Right now, we have a lot of people on the left, on the hard left, who are using our education system basically as their own personal playground to push their own personal agendas.”
This is a critical issue, argues the Lt. Governor, that could have disastrous ramifications in our state and nation’s public education system if it is not addressed. “I truly believe we are going to have to solve this issue. If we do not, I believe that there’s going to be a mass exodus from public education in this nation.”
If you have experienced or are experiencing bias, indoctrination, or discrimination in your school, visit the Lieutenant Governor’s F.A.C.T.S. Submission Form to report this unfair treatment!
Tune in to Family Policy Matters this week to hear more from our own Lt. Governor Mark Robinson on how he hopes to defend fairness in education.
TRACI GRIGGS: Thanks for joining us this week for Family Policy Matters. An issue that’s gotten quite a bit of attention lately is an effort by our new Lt. Governor, Mark Robinson. According to the Lt. Governor’s website, Robinson has launched a task force to support parents, teachers, and students who are, “willing to stand up for North Carolina’s future by exposing indoctrination in the classroom and ensuring that our students are taught how to think, not what to think.”
We are excited to welcome Lt. Governor Mark Robinson to the show today to discuss his new F.A.C.T.S. Task Force. Mark Robinson, welcome to Family Policy Matters.
LT. GOV. ROBINSON: Thank you. Thank you for having me.
TRACI GRIGGS: Also joining us today is NC Family’s president John Rustin. Hello, John.
JOHN RUSTIN: Hey Traci, great to be with you.
TRACI GRIGGS: Well folks, we are being treated to the opportunity to listen in on a conversation between these two men on this new task force and what that might mean to those of us who have family and friends in the public school system in North Carolina. So John, take it away. What’s your first question for our lt. governor?
JOHN RUSTIN: Great. Well thanks, Traci. And Lt. Governor, I first of all want to just thank you for taking time out of your very busy schedule to be with us today, and for your service to the state of North Carolina. Of course, the position of lt. governor carries a wide array of duties and responsibilities. Today we really want to kind of focus in specifically on the area of education and your role as a member of the State Board of Education. Lt. Governor, as we start, what is your overall impression of education here in North Carolina now that you have a somewhat new role and perspective as lt. governor?
LT. GOV. ROBINSON: Well, first let me say that I believe that North Carolina has awesome, absolutely fantastic teachers. We have some of the best teachers in the country right here in North Carolina. We have some of the best education systems in the country. We have teachers that are dedicated to the job and dedicated to the mission thereof. I want to say that first and foremost, because I’ve met many of them while I’ve been serving as lt. governor, and when running for lt. governor. I feel that in general, our education system here in North Carolina is on firm footing. It has been, I think, since 2010, when Republicans took over the legislature and made education a priority. They started giving our teachers raises and things of that nature. But I do think there are a lot of things that we need to work on in the education system, and one of them is the thing that we were just talking about. Unfortunately, there are people who are in the classroom who feel the need to share information that does not need to be shared. And force things on our students that shouldn’t be forced on them.
JOHN RUSTIN: Now the F.A.C.T.S. Task Force—and F.A.C.T.S. is an acronym that stands for Fairness and Accountability in the Classroom for Teachers and Students— the F.A.C.T.S. Task Force that you have created has a very specific purpose. Talk about that a little bit. What prompted you to create this task force?
LT. GOV. ROBINSON: Well, you know, for years I’ve known that this indoctrination existed in the classroom. I knew it when my children were in school, when I saw examples of it then. But I didn’t realize how widespread it was until I became a candidate for lt. governor. Once I became a candidate, everywhere we went, we found while we were traveling the state we heard about these things. As lt. governor, we continue to, of course, hear about them.
And then I began to see some of it up close and personal when I attended my first school board meeting, and got an inside look at some of the things and agendas that are being pushed at the state level. It’s very dismaying to me that these things are going on. And again, we hear about it all the time and everybody talks about it all the time; the problem is it didn’t seem that anyone was really making a move to do anything about it. And that is why we started this task force. We started this task force to give parents, teachers, and students a place where they could bring their complaints, and not just have them heard, but actually figure out a way to do something about this. This is a problem not just in North Carolina; it is a problem all across the country. And it’s not just about indoctrination in the classroom; it’s also about bias in the classroom and about bias at our schools where conservative voices, Christian voices, are being pushed out of the conversation, or not being allowed to be part of the conversation. We have got to change that; we have got to make sure that everybody in the classroom has a voice and that everybody in the classroom is being treated fairly. I know in this country we’ve always tried to do that, and we needed to do it in education as well. And so that’s the purpose of the task force.
JOHN RUSTIN: Well, you have been such a great leader and an outspoken leader in this realm, and we’re so grateful for that. I know a lot of these issues really came to light not terribly long ago when the State Board of Education was considering some new standards for the social studies curriculum in North Carolina. Can you talk about that a little bit?
LT. GOV. ROBINSON: Well, yes, the standards. For those who may not understand how the actual system works, the School Board creates a set of standards. The standards state what students should know at the end of each grade level. And then [Department of Public Instruction] takes those standards and uses those standards to create primary sources for teachers to use in order to carry out their curriculums at the classroom level. The standards that we had originally—I had not seen them before I was a famous School Board member— were very good standards. They were very straight to the point. Anyone who’s read them could understand them; there was really no question about them. Some folks objected to those standards for some reason, and demanded that some of this so-called “social justice language” be placed into it.
And, you know, reading over those [new] standards, they read like, I think one School Board member described them as, they were going to give them a title called, “10 Reasons Why America is a Bad Place.” I mean, really divisive language saying America is systematically racist, which is just not true. We were diametrically opposed with the language, the substance, and the tone in those standards, and we stood up against them. Now those standards were passed and they’re going to be used in our school system. But that was not the end of the fight. We’re going to continue to try to pull education back away from these. And let me be honest with you, right now we have a lot of people on the left, on the hard left, who are using our education system basically as their own personal playground to push their own personal agendas. And we’re going to continue to fight to wrestle that away from them and get education back to a place where it should be.
JOHN RUSTIN: What kind of response have you received since you created this task force? I remember that we were actually doing a story on it to alert people to it, the website was down and the mainstream media came out and said, “Well, maybe he’s giving it second thoughts.” Our understanding was that there was so much traffic on the website that it had to be taken down in order to kind of reinforce it so that it can handle a higher level of traffic. So, what have you seen in relation to the development of this task force as folks across the state have learned more about it?
LT. GOV. ROBINSON: The information is coming in fast and furious. The help is coming in fast and furious. People are calling from all across the state—really calling from all across the country—asking what they can do to help in this effort. As a matter of fact, it is bigger than we ever expected, and we are steadily moving forward collecting the information. From that point, once we’ve collected the information, we will sit down; we’ll categorize it; we’ll look over it; and we’ll highlight the things that we feel like we need to highlight. And then we’ll take the next step in presenting the information to the necessary parties. And we don’t want really know what that’s going to look like yet, because we have not decided; we’ve got a lot of options on what we can do. So once we get this information collected and get it organized, we’re going to take it to the entity that we feel like is appropriate and we’re going to present it. Then we’re going to move forward with trying to build some solutions.
And I truly believe that we are going to have to solve this issue. If we do not, I believe that there’s going to be a mass exodus from public education in this nation. I really do. Parents are no longer going to teach their children, you know, at home how to be good Christians—how to be good patriots, good Americans—and then have them sent off to school to be basically programmed to be socialists. They’re not going to do it anymore. The public education system in this country has done wonders for the fabric of our society; we now need to allow it to continue to do that. The only way we can do that is if the public education system is about the business of education. We cannot continue to allow this indoctrination to rule over our public schools. We’ve got to stop it.
JOHN RUSTIN: I couldn’t agree more. Now, Lt. Governor, some may think that concerns about indoctrination and discrimination and harassment only apply to students, but administrators and teachers and other school personnel can face the same challenges, can’t they?
LT. GOV. ROBINSON: Absolutely. We have examples of students. We have examples of teachers that would make your toes curl. We have examples of school board members, administrators, all who have been victims of either bias or being forced to sit in trainings where they’re told that they’re racist and have to go along with it. This is happening across the board in education, to parents, teachers, and students and administrators.
But one of the things that I think can really help—I think that we could see a lot of change in our school systems across the state, across this country, if parents get involved at the local level. Go to the school board meetings. Find out who your representatives are. Find out about the decisions they’re making. Find out what they’re pushing, what they’re supporting. And if you are diametrically opposed to it, push back. You have the opportunity as a citizen of your municipality to have your voice heard, make your voice heard, get involved at the local level.
A lot of this stuff is getting by because, unfortunately, it’s being done while parents are at work, or while parents are at home busy with their lives. These bureaucrats, they’re meeting without a backlash from the parents, or the citizens. The citizens have got to start coming to these meetings and making their voices heard. I think if they do that, if we start doing that on a massive scale and making these folks realize that they have somebody they have to answer to, I think we’ll see a lot of change. Plus, to be quite honestly, I think folks need to start looking at running for some of these positions, and we need to start making sure that we have some conservative voices on these boards so that we can have some pushback.
JOHN RUSTIN: Well, and I think parents often underestimate significantly the impact that they can have if they come together, if they organize as groups, as you’re saying in the local communities, and they get engaged. But they’ve got to be informed; they’ve got to know who their city council members are, who their local Board of Education members are, who their County Commissioners are. Not only their state legislators and members of Congress and the Governor and Lt. Governor for that matter. Parents really can have a significant impact, but they’ve got to be engaged, and that’s one of the things we agree so much about.
Lt. Governor Robinson, you came into this role in the middle of a global pandemic, and we’ve seen a lot of interesting and unique circumstances and ways of dispensing education and instruction in our state over the past year. What are some of the positive lessons or developments that you have seen in the educational arena in North Carolina during this past year?
LT. GOV. ROBINSON: I think one of the positive things that I’ve seen is just how much students enjoy going to school. I mean, we see students eager to get back to school. You know, we have this prevailing thought that students hate school. It’s just this thing in pop culture where they say students hate school, they hate teachers. That is not the case; these students really love school. They want to go to school. They want to enjoy their classes, to go to class. And you know, they want to be around their friends and they want to sit in class and learn their lessons and all those good things. And that’s one of the good things that we’ve seen.
Another thing that we’ve seen too is this: people are willing to stand up and fight for their schools. We have people all across this state who are committed, heavily committed, not just to the thing that I’m talking about here about this indoctrination, but are committed to making sure that our kids get back into the classroom and fight for it every day.
So I think overall, that’s probably the two things that I’ve seen most positive during this pandemic: how much we’ve seen that kids love school and want to go back to school; and how determined parents are to make sure that this doesn’t happen to their students, to their schools again.
JOHN RUSTIN: Well, that’s really encouraging. Traci, I know that we’re just about out of time so I’m going to throw things back to you now. Lt. Governor, I want to just thank you so much for your time and for your insights in this conversation today; it’s really helpful, and we’re grateful for your perspective.
TRACI GRIGGS: So I would assume that people can just keep an eye on your website, possibly, to just keep up with what your task force is doing?
LT. GOV. ROBINSON: Absolutely. They can keep up with our Facebook page. They can keep up on our website, the lt. governor’s website.
TRACI GRIGGS: And that’s ltgov.nc.gov/facts. Well, Lt. Governor Mark Robinson, thank you so much for being with us today on Family Policy Matters.
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