I have spent the last couple of weeks having conversations with teachers, students, parents and activists. I have watched documentaries, listened to podcasts and taken pages upon pages of notes. What I found to be an overarching theme during all my “research” is that there are many many truths we can agree to agree on. Meaning we are all not so different in the problems we face in education. No one seems happy with the way it is going and everyone wants a solution. I am here to listen to both sides and help us come together in a solution. It may sound cheesy or trite but listening is the only way to move forward. To listen and to apply what we learn. The problems that have arisen I believe come from the divisive nature of our preconceived notions of one another. One side thinks the other whitewashes American history by banning books and culture while the other believes children are being brainwashed, indoctrinated and turned against them. Under all this madness there is truth. Here is what I found.
CRT is very real and is being taught in schools. So many people tried to play off CRT as a conservative boogy man designed to fear-monger voters into buying into their agenda of “whitewashing” American history. This is simply not true and is an attempt to gaslight the American people. CRT, not the theory debated on elite college campuses, but the boiled down viewpoint that America is racist to its core, in its DNA and all white people are naturally oppressors while all minorities are oppressed victims is taught in schools in the forms of worksheets, articles, books, curriculum, cartoons and discussions. Alright, I and most, if not all of the people, can obviously support and advocate for the teaching of all American History, the good with the bad. But what I and most parents cannot get behind is the idea that this country, who fought a bloody war to reckon with racial sins, is racist to its core, in its DNA, and all white people are naturally oppressors while all minorities are inherently victims. This ideology is toxic, harmful, damaging, ruthless, and false and is in our schools. There are countless examples across the country but especially in NC we have first accounts from students, parents and teachers, and physically, we have the 500+ pages of the FACTS task force report put in place by LT. Gov Mark Robinson. The FACTS report found 6 overarching themes 1. Fear of Retaliation 2. The Sexualization of Kids 3. Critical Race Theory 4. White Shaming 5. Biased News Media and/or Lesson Plans 6. Shaming of certain political beliefs. You can read the whole report in the link in my bio. These are just examples from North Carolina Schools. But school districts across the country explicitly implement CRT such as WA State schools under the direction of Governor Inslee, Illinois, New York, MA, WA DC, PA, and the list goes on. It is undeniable that CRT is in schools. Any attempt to claim otherwise is simply manipulative and gaslighting. Where we can give and agree to agree on, is that there should be no whitewashing. Lets teach all of history, the hard truths of our past with the triumphs of our victories. Let’s teach how far we have come. Why it took us so long to overcome. And let’s teach how far we still have to go.
Gender Theory - Sexual orientation discussions and gender fluidity is also taught/discussed in schools. Without fail, everyone I talked to brought up the Florida “Don’t Say Gay Bill” to sight the idiocy behind republicans push to ban sexual education/orientation in school. First, the Florida Bill is not “Don't Say Gay” it is the Parental Rights in Education Bill - it says you are not allowed to indoctrinate young children into sexual orientation and gender identity in primary grade levels without parental consent. In my conversations people said either 1. Unnecessary for nothing of the sort exists in schools or 2. Outrageous because how could we deny children and teachers the rights to express themselves. Both of these cannot be true at once. Again, sexual orientation and gender identity is taught in schools. FACTS in NC as well as countless first hand accounts prove this to be true. I spoke with one teacher specifically who is not politically charged. She is the most compassionate and understanding person I have ever met and that is the reason she is a teacher, to love and encourage children. She has been heartbroken by what she has seen culturally and in the classroom for grade school kids. She told me a story of one of her students who was in 5th grade at the time, who she found sobbing in her classroom because she was so nervous she would not know what gender to pick. This is tragic for our children. Growing up is already hard, we all struggled with identity issues and crises. Why throw more confusion on the fire? We attempt to label young children before they have even had a chance to learn who they are. If everything is seen through a gender or sexual lense then the simple holding hands of best friends could seem gay or the athleticism of a girl or artistic of a boy could point to something deeper. Why label these children? Why seek to tell them they are something else? Just let them be children and let parents decide wether or not they want to expose them to the wide variety of sexual choices that lay in front of people today. Life will hit them hard eventually, can’t we all agree we should lighten their burdens, not add to them.
Parents and teachers face a major conflict of vision when it comes to their roles in schools. From my conversations with parents and being one myself, we believe it is the teachers job to educate our children and it is our job to train our children. Teachers have the most important job on planet earth besides parents. They have the education of the next future generation, of our children, our lifelines, our everything's. They should be paid as such. Every single parent I talked to believes teachers are undervalued and underpaid. Every teacher I talked to felt every parent hated them and felt they were misunderstood and misrepresented in the parents eyes. Teachers were also incredibly protective over public school curriculum and the education they were giving to the children. When told some parents may not like what they're teaching, the response is “too bad, send them to private school” or “if you want to change it then go to xyz training program like the curriculum developers do”. Basically, if you are poor, you get no say in how your kid is educated or if you disagree then you are not educated correctly. The only thing parents don’t want their kids taught is political or social indoctrination. These are concepts that should be left to parents. What should be left to qualified teachers is grammar, writing, math, and science. Can we all agree to agree on the fact that teachers should be paid more, communication between parents and teachers should be increased, and politics and social/cultural norms should be kept out of the public school curriculum?
Ok so to end this I have to say that all these conversations were actually encouraging. I strongly feel we all can find lots of truth we can agree upon moving forward. We need solutions to injustices in our school system. There are children who are illiterate in some parts of this state and specifically in Winston-Salem. And this is a direct result of poor schools in poor communities. We can also concede that although there are not racist practices in place today, practices such as redlining, led to the devastating states of some of these poor minority neighborhoods. We need to rectify this wrong. Teachers are not being paid nearly enough. There is zero to no incentive for good teachers to stay in education or good teachers to come into education. This is wrong and is detrimental to our kids. We need to audit the public budgets and our teachers should be at the front of the redistributing of money. The problem of how to fix the crisis of learning and the gap between schools such as Whitaker in Buena Vista and Carver in East Winston is complex and contentious. We have put bandages in place over the years in the forms of bussing or school choice. But we need a permanent solution. If elected I will work across the aisle and with my fellow conservatives to find a solution - whether it means increased awareness and implementation of the Voucher programs, school choice or simply target re-allocation of funds. I don’t have the magical solution but I am a parent with children who will be entering this system and by God it better be the best. I am hoping to help make that happen.