When it comes to “woke,” state schools Superintendent Truitt needs to wake up

CBC Editorial: Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024; #8911

The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company

Likely voters in North Carolina’s Republican primary election are finding their mailboxes filled with appeals, promises and claims.

Catherine Truitt has been intimately connected with the state’s education system and public schools for nearly a decade as a top education advisor to former Gov. Pat McCrory, an administrator in the UNC system and then with a private online university and since 2021 the elected state Superintendent of Public Instruction.

She should be intimately familiar with the needs and challenges facing public education in the state:

  • Among the lowest paid classroom teachers in the nation;
  • Critical and chronic vacancies in classroom instructors, administrators and support staff from bus drivers to custodians;
  • Shortages of basic classroom supplies and technology;
  • Lack of adequate safety personnel and equipment;
  • Failure to meet the state Constitution’s guarantee that every child, regardless of the school system they attend or family economic status — have access to a quality education.
  • Chronic need to renovate current school facilities and build new classroom facilities.

But those issues are chronically absent when Truitt reaches out to voters. There’s no mention of them in her mailing voters received this week.

What’s most important to the incumbent state schools superintendent?

“Getting Woke Politics out of our Public Schools.”

What does she note as achievements during her first term?

“Backed the Parents Bill of Rights prohibiting teaching gender identity, sexuality and sexual activity to Kindergarten through 4th graders.

“Ended the Cooper Covid School Shutdowns and Mask Mandates.

“Barred boys from playing girls sports in High Schools and Middle Schools.”

Republican incumbent Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt campaign mailer, Feb. 2024.
Republican incumbent Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt campaign mailer, Feb. 2024.

The reality of the so-called “Parents Bill of Rights” is less about empowering parents as it is about intimidating teachers and school administrators while stifling the bonds of trust between students and instructors and imposing an ideology on learning.

Truitt well knows that shutting schools during the Covid pandemic was about protecting the health and lives of students, parents and school personnel. From March 2020 to September2023 there were 3.5 million cases of Covid in the state and nearly 34,400 deaths — about 600,000 (17%) of the cases were among those 17 and younger. North Carolina had the 15th lowest Covid death rate among all U.S. states and territories. WalletHub ranked North Carolina the 5th safest state during Covid.

The over-reaction to gender issues concerning participation in school sports has been like using a Howitzer to kill a fly.

North Carolina voters would be more informed and appreciative if rather than hyperventilating over “woke politics” candidates like Truitt sought to awaken the electorate about the REAL issues facing public education in the state and delivering a quality education to every student.

Where do you stand on:

  • Implementing the Comprehensive Remedial Plan for public education the courts have ordered?
  • Moving North Carolina from 46th in the nation in beginning teacher pay
  • Lifting North Carolina from LAST IN THE NATION in public school funding effort and 48th in overall public-school funding?

Enough “woke.” Wake up! When it comes to public education – let voters clearly know where and how you stand with North Carolina’s Constitution, the state’s children and its future.

We’ll be watching our mailboxes.

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