According to Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, educators who can’t put political opinions aside in the classroom fail students.
Robinson, a Republican and the state’s first black lieutenant governor, made the statement Tuesday at a press conference to announce a new task force he has created to end what he calls the political indoctrination of students in schools.
“I don’t want right-wing political ideology to be put in the classroom any more than the left hand [politics]”said Robinson.
Robinson shared an example of what he considers student indoctrination. A teacher told a student she couldn’t submit a Black History Month report on Robinson, he said.
The teacher suggested the student bring back the late rapper Tupac Shakur instead, Robinson said.
âIt’s indoctrination,â said Robinson. âThis is exactly what we are talking about. Simply because she didn’t like my politics or because she didn’t like me. I have no idea what the problem was.
The lieutenant governor has said he aspires to one day become an educator.
âIf I go into the classroom and can’t put my opinion aside long enough to walk into the classroom and give impressionable young minds the facts without my opinion, I have failed as an educator. This is the commitment I want from all of our teachers and this is the commitment we get from most of them. Unfortunately, not everyone follows this protocol and we receive these complaints about it. “
The working group entitled “Fairness and Accountability in the Classroom for Teachers and Students” (FACTS) will receive complaints from parents, students and others regarding perceived biases, inappropriate material or indoctrination they see or undergo in schools through a portal on Robinson’s website.
“This is not an indictment against education,” Robinson insisted. âThe vast majority of our teachers in this state and across the country are good. They go to work; they work hard and are there for the benefit of the students and parents they serve.
Parents complain, however, that children are learning subjects that go against parents’ beliefs, Robinson said.
âWe call it indoctrination, but it could be called a lot of things,â Robinson said. âYou could call it politicizing the class. This could be called bringing things into the classroom that have no place there.
The state has never had a place to compile, investigate and deal with such complaints, Robinson said.
âThat’s what we’re looking to do with this working group,â he said. “We want this working group to be a resource for parents and students who feel unable to tackle the issues they face in their schools.”
He said parents and teachers are afraid to challenge school boards, principals and administrators on such issues.
âFriends, this has to stop,â said Robinson. âSchool is supposed to be a safe place for people to go to learn. “
Several FACTS members joined Robinson’s press conference on Tuesday, including State Board of Education member Olivia Oxendine.
As lieutenant governor, Robinson sits on the state board of directors. He and Oxendine, the only Native American member of the board, were among the most vocal opponents of the state’s new social studies standards that require educators to include diverse voices when teaching classes. history and social studies.
Robinson complained that the new standards are “political in nature” and unfairly portray America as “consistently racist.”
State Senator Kevin Corbin, a Republican from Macon County and State Representative David Willis, a Republican from Union County, have agreed to be part of the task force.
Willis said he was a product of the state’s public schools, from kindergarten to college.
âI don’t remember a time when I knew the political views of my professors or my professors, their party affiliations,â Willis said. âIt was never relevant to what we were there for. We were there to learn to read and write and to prepare for a career, and I think we’ve moved away from that in the last few years.