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North Carolina ‘ground zero’ in debate over civics/social studies education

Progressives are commandeering civics and social studies education in our country. That alone should alarm us and lead us to join together to reverse this trend. Locke’s Terry Stoops is taking a stand. He has signed on to the new Civics Alliance, joining the effort from the National Association of Scholars to restore and improve the teaching of civics and social studies in U.S. schools.

North Carolina Leftists have made big gains on this front. In this conversation with Locke’s Mitch Kokai, Stoops describes North Carolina as ‘ground zero.’

Within North Carolina, Wake County is at the head of the class when it comes to teaching and advocating for division-based civics and social studies. Locke’s Mitch Kokai posed a key question to Stoops about what’s going on in Wake.

You heard Terry mention a City Journal story about Wake County. Here is part of that recent story about the February 2020 conference.

Parents, according to the teachers, should be considered an impediment to social justice. When one teacher asked, “How do you deal with parent pushback?” the answer was clear: ignore parental concerns and push the ideology of antiracism directly to students. “You can’t let parents deter you from the work,” the teachers said. “White parents’ children are benefiting from the system” of whiteness and are “not learning at home about diversity (LGBTQ, race, etc.).” Therefore, teachers have an obligation to subvert parental wishes and beliefs. Any “pushback,” the teachers explained, is merely because white parents fear “that they are going to lose something” and find it “hard to let go of power [and] privilege.”

Think of that: parents characterized as an impediment. Now you know why the Civics Alliance is such an important effort, and why Locke’s Terry Stoops has signed on.

There is no doubt that our country has flaws and points in our history that make us shudder. We should teach that history and seek to understand — not endorse — but to understand the norms and thinking of the time and the succeeding policy change and societal activism toward justice and opportunity.

As half of an interracial marriage, I know from my life experience that racism is real. But I also know from my life experience that racism has been the exception. Let’s teach our kids the broad history of our country, the bad and the good, the missteps and the triumphs. And let’s teach them how our country compares with others. Only then can we raise a generation of citizens who appreciate who we are, where we’ve come from, and where we’re going. Only then can we truly understand why so many are willing to risk so much to become Americans.

Donna Martinez / Senior Writer and Editor

Donna came to the John Locke Foundation in January 2003 after freelance writing for Carolina Journal and contributing to projects for the North Carolina Education Alliance. He...