The subject of education reform with new recommendations for the K-12 social studies curriculum currently has some in North Carolina at odds.
Last week, members of the North Carolina Board of Education discussed whether the concepts of systemic racism and discrimination, along with gender identity should be discussed in class. A series of topics Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, the first black man to hold the office, is strongly against.
“To call our system of government racist, that is an untruth as far as I’m concerned. I truly believe that is an untruth as far as history is concerned and it does a disservice to our students. It puts the idea in the mind of our children that they live in a nation that has promoted racism,” Robinson said at the time.
The difference of opinion prompted Raleigh-based television station WRAL to publish a highly-controversial editorial cartoon published on their website, depicting Robinson and the GOP as the Klu Klux Klan. The cartoonist, Dennis Draughon, serves as an eighth grade school teacher.
The cartoon shows an Elephant dressed as a Klansman representing GOP board of education members who are against the use an inclusive curriculum. The caption to the left of the GOP mascot reads: “We prefer a clean sheet…”
“It points to exactly what we’re talking about. This is an individual who, of course, is in favor of these standards. In a cartoon, that gave up a microcosmic of how history can be rewritten in the classroom, Robinson said on WBT’s Pat McCrory Show with Bo Thompson Thursday.
“If This man is willing to put this out as his public opinion on a news station the size of WRAL, what is he telling his students in the classroom? That is the danger here and we need to make sure we set standards to allow teachers to tell the entire truth.
“Because let’s get it straight, there are things in this country’s past that we need to explain to our children and teach them about slavery and Jim Crow and how women we’re allowed to vote until the 1920’s. We need to explain those things and how they happened.”
Seth Effron, Opinion Editor for Capitol Broadcasting, the parent company of WRAL, released a statement saying the following:
“Editorial cartoons are creative and provocative, using hyperbole and satire. No one believes Republicans on the State Board of Education are members of the Ku Klux Klan. The editorial cartoon by Dennis Draughon is meant to point out that these members of the State Board are trying to wipe out from the social studies curriculum the record of racism which includes the Klan and the segregationist practices that were imposed in our state and nation’s history.”
Robinson, who took office at the first of the year, said he still hasn’t met with Gov. Roy Cooper. He noted that he has spoken to the Governor once over the past month.
“I have not been to the mansion yet. I certainly hope that will be coming,” Robinson said.
Listen to Mark Robinson’s interview on The Pat McCrory Show with Bo Thompson below.