As is his wont, veteran Mecklenburg County public school teacher Justin Parmenter has done the state a valuable service in recent weeks by obtaining and publishing dozens of comments submitted by members of the public to the new “F.A.C.T.S. task force” established by North Carolina’s always embarrassing Lt. Governor, Mark Robinson. (Note to the Lite Guv: you’ve got a typo in the headline on the task force website.)
Robinson, as you’re probably aware by now, has courted controversy throughout his brief political career by repeatedly uttering outrageous comments that make Donald Trump sound like a thoughtful and mild-mannered intellectual. In particular, Robinson has a special affinity for dispensing ignorant, anti-Semitic barbs that would, 30 years ago, have gotten him kicked out of all major political parties and disqualified him from holding high office. His “task force” supposedly represents an effort to, in a manner that would make Joe McCarthy proud, ferret out all the leftist indoctrination to which the state’s diabolical cadre of commie teachers are subjecting their students.
Not surprisingly, the comments Robinson received are unlikely to shake up, much less spur any kind of dramatic overhaul in, the world of public education. Parmenter — God bless him — went through 506 of them and published some representative samples in a pair of posts on his website, Notes from the Chalkboard.
As he explained in the introduction to the first post, entitled “Many of the submissions to Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson’s teacher indoctrination portal are just people roasting Mark Robinson”:
Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson launched his F.A.C.T.S. (“Fairness and Accountability for Teachers and Students”) website in March, touting it as a tool to help smoke out the rampant liberal indoctrination that is occurring in North Carolina’s classrooms.
But if you see any smoke, it’s more likely from the copious roasts of the F.A.C.T.S. project and Robinson’s extreme politics that have been submitted through the portal.
After obtaining and reading all 506 F.A.C.T.S. submissions through a public records request, I can report that a significant number of them are complaints from people who see the lieutenant governor’s effort as a shameful political witch hunt or tongue-in-cheek reports intended to mock his project. In addition, many of the submissions are from North Carolinians who more generally object to his homophobic, xenophobic views.
The submissions are not all criticisms and roasts, and they do include a good bit of generic bashing of public schools, wild accusations of teachers being satanic communists, and pleas to end the persecution of white people by Robinson’s fringe base.
And this is from the intro to post #2 (“‘I guess she had the right skin color.’ Complaints to Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson’s indoctrination portal dominated by white racial resentment”):
Many of the 506 complaints to Robinson’s task force come from North Carolinians who appear deeply concerned about what they perceive as a move away from a white Christian-centered system of public education.
These submissions include recommendations to cancel Black History Month, pleas to stop making white students feel guilty by teaching so much about slavery – which one individual remarked “is getting old”– and suggestions to end hiring practices aimed at increasing diversity of school staff.
They provide a helpful lens to understand the real motivation behind moves across the country to restrict classroom discussions on race and various types of oppression under the false pretense of fighting the boogeyman “critical race theory.”
The bottom line: Let’s hope Parmenter and other gifted educators like him who care deeply about providing our state’s schoolchildren with the education they deserve keep calling out Robinson’s nonsense.