Lt. Governor Mark Robinson announced his endorsement of the 1776 Citizen Pledge on Wednesday—a direct attack referencing the dangers of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in schools. The 1776 Action initiative was inspired by the Trump administration's 1776 Commission, which reinforces America's founding documents and principles.
The Citizen Pledge counters a recent announcement, referencing New Business Item 39, by the largest teacher's union, the National Education Association (NEA), that aggressively advocates for Critical Race Theory (CRT) curricula in American schools. The statement was a result of the recent June 30-July 3 NEA Annual Meeting and Representative Assembly.
Robinson believes American children should understand that the United States:
"[Is] still the place of dreams for everybody. It's still the greatest nation on earth. We want to teach that to our children. We want to make sure that our children understand the greatness of this nation, they understand the greatness of their founding documents and those who founded the nation as well."
Robinson, the ninth of ten children, grew up poor and lost his father when he was 12. His mother had an abiding faith in God and raised him to believe that "all opportunities were open to her and her children, and she told us so. Because of that, because she passed those things down to us, I'm now living my dream."
In mid-March, Robinson initiated a bi-partisan task force, called F.A.C.T.S Taskforce (Fairness and Accountability in the Classroom for Teachers and Students), to prevent indoctrination in North Carolina schools. The F.A.C.T.S website provides a centralized mechanism by which parents can give feedback to public schools with their concerns "without fear of retaliation."
NEA 100th Representative Assembly Produces Resolution On CRT
The NEA sponsored the 100th Representative Assembly virtually from June 30 through July 3, hosting 8000 delegates. NEA President Becky Pringle praised the members for "sending a true friend of public education, Joe Biden, to the White House in 2020."
President Biden and his wife Jill, an educator and "longtime NEA member," praised NEA members' "dedication and resolve" while navigating the Covid crisis. Stacey Abrams also spoke at a luncheon keynote address, protesting a recent Supreme Court decision to uphold "two Republican-backed voting restrictions in Arizona." Abrams urged members to “'speak up, stand up and show up at school board meetings, statehouses, and Capitol Hill on behalf of themselves and their students."
At the virtual conference, the NEA adopted "New Business Item (NBI) 39," which has since been scrubbed from the internet along with other pages of "assembly resolutions and proposed resolutions." It will cost an additional $127,600 to implement the strategy associated with the NBI. The resolution pledges to "fight back against anti-CRT rhetoric" and
"Provide an already created, in-depth, study that critiques empire, white supremacy, anti-Blackness, anti-indigeneity, racism, patriarchy, cis heteropatriarchy, capitalism, ableism, anthropocentrism, and other forms of power and oppression at the intersections of our society, and that we oppose attempts to ban critical race theory and/or The 1619 Project."
New Business Item 39/NEA 2021 Virtual Assembly
The document also calls its members to attend a rally on George Floyd's birthday, Oct. 14, joining Black Lives Matter at School and the Zinn Education Project.
Howard Zinn's 1980 book "A People's History of the United States" has been widely taught in middle and high schools and university settings. It teaches history from the vantage point of the oppressed.
Teachers all over the country, on the National Day of Action on June 11, "pledged to teach the truth" in an initiative associated with the Zinn Education Project in reaction to laws being passed in states across the country.
The conference this year focused almost exclusively on issues of race and social inequities. Using a series of "vignettes," a 44-page document from the Assembly called "Racial Justice in Education" looks at educational policy in multiple states. The stated premise of the document was that "education has been a tool of institutional racism, and education must be the first step in eradicating it."
Education associations from Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin were represented. Those states are used as examples of policy that will "resonate" and "catalyze the change that must happen." A number of issues are discussed and tackled with action plans in the state association vignettes: including the treatment of immigrants, living wages, racial inequities, racial injustice in Colorado; the Zip Code-To-Prison Pipeline in Florida; "Challenging the Narrative of Paradise" in Hawaii that "push[es] back on an accountability narrative" focused on identifying the 'bad teacher' and 'failing schools'; institutional racism in Idaho; Cultural Competency training in Minnesota; unconscious bias in test design in Missouri; sanctuary city issues in New Mexico; improving "diversity in the teacher workforce in Tennessee"; and racial justice training and safe school zones for illegal immigrants in Texas—to name a few.
The document concludes that educators are "uniquely positioned to know how our environment is affecting students of color in schools,"...and only educators "have the ability to transform public education and combat institutional racism from within."
At the end of the document are several suggested racial justice reading materials for teachers.
NEA June/July 2021 Assembly Reading List
The conference also celebrated 12 social justice heroes, including Michelle Obama and her attention on advancing opportunities for women and girls, and the Know Your Rights Camp founded by Colin Kaepernick.
Among the other resolutions are (NBI A), referencing police brutality to "ensure safe and just schools for all students," a number of statements and resolutions on charter schools, and a resolution on the "school-to-prison pipeline."
The school to prison pipeline refers to an education system that "disproportionately places students of color, including those who identify as LGBTQ, have disabilities, and/or are English Language Learners, into the criminal justice system for minor school infractions and disciplinary matters, subjecting them to harsher punishments than their white peers for the same behaviors."
Another document removed from the site was one that indicated the NEA plans to push CRT education in K-12 schools.
Lt. Gov. Robinson discusses teachers' unions and the dangers of CRT in education in the interview below on the NewsMax show, John Bachman Now. "We cannot be bullied by the teachers' unions," Robinson continues,
"For far too long, we have allowed our elected officials and our school leaders to be bullied by the teachers' unions. It's high time somebody stood up to them and told them exactly what we think and what we believe—and what we believe is this—you do not run the schools! You are not in charge of the schools, and you will not determine what our children learn in the schools. If we see things that are bad in our schools and bad for our school systems and bad for our society at large, we are ready to take on the teacher's union and push back."