Editorial: NC schools superintendent Catherine Truitt channels Mark Johnson

Superintendent Catherine Truitt

Former Superintendent Mark Johnson

There was a lot of hope for Catherine Truitt. Though an active member of the Republican Party, she said a lot of the right conciliatory things — both during her campaign for state Superintentent of Public Instruction and after getting elected last fall to replace the divisive and way-in-over-his-head Mark Johnson.

Unfortunately, as this morning’s Capitol Broadcasting Company editorial on WRAL.com explains, the pattern has been much less encouraging of late. Her most notable mistake: supporting the dreadful legislative proposal emanating from the General Assembly to micromanage what teachers can and can’t teach around issues of America’s racist history.

After quoting Truitt a few days after her election stating that “our children’s education is too precious to play politics with,” the editorial puts it this way:

It didn’t take long for Truitt to abandon those platitudes and reveal that she’s all about politics and the priorities of the General Assembly’s leadership are her education priorities – not North Carolina’s students or educators.

Her embrace of legislation that is part of a national ideologically motivated campaign seeking to dictate what educators can and cannot teach in their classrooms – and her clear subservience to the legislative leadership – are both disappointing and surprising.

It is now clear her pledge to be an independent voice – untethered by ideological or partisan political pressures – were hollow platitudes. She has revealed herself to be simply a prop to amplify the voices and views of the legislative leadership.

The editorial also notes the embarrassing fact that Truitt didn’t even bother to issue her own statement on the subject, but instead allowed herself to be “quoted” in a press release issued by House Speaker Tim Moore:

It was through a news release from House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland on May 11, that Truitt said she supported the legislation. “We want to encourage students to think freely and respect differences of opinion while ensuring our classrooms are not promoting ideas contrary to the equality and rights of all,” she said in the GOP release.  “There is no room for divisive rhetoric that condones preferential treatment of any one group over another.”

Those comments were repeated a day later in a House GOP caucus news release crowing about barring what they called “discriminatory concepts” from classrooms after the bill was passed on a 66-48 partisan vote.

The legislation in question, actually seeks to limit discussion and assure any instruction on the nation’s history of slavery and racial discrimination is sterilized to fit a single narrow ideological notion.

The bottom line: Superintendent Truitt is allowing herself to be used as a pawn in a blatantly cynical effort by legislative Republicans to manipulate public opinion in a divisive way on the issue of race, and these efforts have nothing to do with properly educating our children.

Surely, Mark Johnson is nodding somewhere. Click here to read the editorial.

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