Truitt praises her employees at the Governor's School for firing a teacher with an exemplary record and then calls him a racist. Her dishonesty is crippling the public education system in North Carolina.
by: Sloan Rachmuth
Just before Christmas, Alliance Defending Freedom filed a wrongful termination suit against the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) on behalf of former Governor’s School teacher Dr. David Phillips. In its filing, the law firm also called out Phillip's hostile work conditions that were caused specifically by his conservative political views and open identification as a Christian.
According to the lawsuit, the Governor's School faculty pressured Phillips to follow its radical Marxist programming. Philips would not comply with teaching students such concepts as White, heterosexual, able-bodied, Christian males are “Princes of Privilege,” white Christian students should confess their privilege to peers and teachers, and there are multiple genders. Phillips' refusal to do so led to his abrupt firing.
Each time Phillips asked DPI officials the reason he was fired, he was told that the Governor's School was going in "a different direction."
In response to Alliance Defending Freedom filing the lawsuit, Truitt sent a letter to the members of the General Assembly to announce that the teacher had been fired for allegedly using a racist slur, and for offering below-average instruction to students:
"this individual was dismissed from their temporary, time-limited position for their conduct, not their content, inside the classroom."
Likening Dr. Phillips to a gift wrapper hired by the mall during Christmas - a “temporary worker” - was another cheap shot. But there’s more.
Truitt then summoned the North State Journal editor-in-chief, who dutifully transcribed her libel and uncritically disseminated it throughout the state.
Truitt was not named in Phillips' lawsuit, and she could have elected to stay silent and allow the department's lawyers to handle the matter in court. But she chose to assassinate Dr. Phillips' character instead. Truitt wants the public to disregard Dr. Phillips’ account of what happened on her watch, and his account of the disaster that the Governor's School has become.
Being called a racist by the state's highest education official can irreparably damage a teacher's reputation, and Truitt knows it. Her attack served as a very public warning to other Christian conservative teachers who might complain about discrimination in the future.
Prior to his firing after 8 years of service, Dr. Phillips had been touted as one of the Governor School star educators. Over the course of his career, he was promoted to lead English instructor and took on extra duties like teaching several optional learning seminars on topics such as social psychology and free speech in academia.
During his tenure with Governor’s School, Dr. Phillips had never received complaints, nor did he receive a poor performance review. He had been described as “a wonderful teacher” and that he demonstrated a “clear commitment to helping students explore their personal opinions and beliefs about significant social ideas in a safe and respectful environment” by supervisors at the school.
Doesn’t sound like the kind of thing people would write about a “racist” or a poor educator on a performance review. That’s because Dr. Phillips’ is a wonderful teacher who doesn’t have a racist bone in his body according to everyone who knows him, myself included.
Phillips wasn't the only white, straight, Christian (i.e privileged) male Truitt had in her crosshairs. The Superintendent's predecessor Mark Johnson also received opprobrium in her pre-New Year screed. She all but accused Johnson of allowing the Governor’s School to teach “inappropriate” materials imposing CRT curriculum on students himself.
When he was superintendent, Mark Johnson took the CRT aficionado on the State school board, James Ford, to task for linking white voters to "white supremacy."
Doesn’t seem like the kind of thing a CRT-promoting Superintendent would do.
Here’s the truth: Truitt is lying about Mark Johnson's leadership and Dr. Phillips’ character, as well as the conditions at Governors’ School, to make herself look blameless and competent.
Truitt’s dishonesty is a feature, not a bug, of her leadership style.
Think that’s an extreme statement? Behold: Last February, EFA reported that DPI ordered schools to allow students to choose their “preferred” names and genders on official school records. After an outcry by the public, Truitt’s official press secretary took to Twitter to call our reporting “misinformation.”
In typical Truitt fashion, she also enlisted the help of her "unofficial" press secretary, Andrea (AP) Dillon at the North State Journal, to gaslight the public on her pro-Transgender policies:
The update to PowerSchool does not erase student sex information in the system as some are now claiming, according to information from the N.C. Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI). Instead, the system update allows for local decision-makers such as principals of individual schools to choose who can view that information.
Again, North State Journal protected Truitt at the expense of the truth. School board members, principals, and teachers were unaware that DPI had removed the biological sex of students from PowerSchool's standard view, which caused a cascade of confusion.
Whenever Truitt is not attacking others for pointing out weaknesses at the DPI, she is inflating the department's achievements.
During a House hearing last summer, Truitt boasted that North Carolina's kindergarten and first-grade students were doing better than any other students in America in reading proficiency.
"We are really excited to share with you for the first time that preliminary end-of-year data for kindergarten and first-graders show that North Carolina is moving quicker than the rest of the nation in its early literacy recovery," Truitt said.
Truitt presented a chart claiming that North Carolina kindergarteners improved from 27% proficient to 67% proficient by the end of the 2018-19 school year. By contrast, nationwide proficiency rates rose from 36% to 60%, she explained.
The DPI was forced to admit after Truitt's dog-and-pony show that the chart she used contained "mislabelled" data that painted a less-impressive picture of early readers’ performance.
So what if students aren’t as proficient in reading as they should be? So what if teachers are being harassed and fired because of their faith or political affiliations in the state’s public schools? Who cares if school leaders aren’t trusted enough to handle viewing students’ biological sexes? None of that matters to Superintendent Truitt as long as the DPI appears functional and she looks competent.
It's likely that neither scenario is true.