In memoir, Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson calls for taking science, history out of elementary schools

Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson
Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson(WITN News)
Published: Aug. 23, 2022 at 4:27 PM EDT
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WRAL) - North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson is dropping more hints about a potential run for governor in 2024. And, if elected, he says he’d work to keep science and history out of some elementary school classrooms.

He says he’d also seek to eliminate the State Board of Education, end abortion, and work to prevent transgender people from serving in the military.

In a forthcoming memoir, Robinson explains how he drew his views from a wide range of life experiences, beginning with a troubled upbringing and a violent father. Little did he know that a fiery 2018 speech about gun rights at a Greensboro City Council meeting would set him on a journey to become the state’s top Republican executive office holder and first Black lieutenant governor.

WRAL News obtained an advance copy of the book,”We Are the Majority: The Life and Passions of a Patriot,” which is scheduled to be released Sept. 13. Here are two major takeaways:

1. Robinson is readying a 2024 gubernatorial run

Throughout his memoir, the lieutenant governor all but announces he’ll seek to become North Carolina’s governor in 2024, saying he’s giving it serious consideration.

He writes that he and his team have lists of fundraising contacts in anticipation of a run. He also says he is drafting plans of what a prospective gubernatorial bid might look like once second-term Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is out of office.

“We have had a leader who has taken us a long way in the wrong direction over the course of his two terms, and that’s where I think I could be of great service to the people of this state,” Robinson writes of Cooper. “Somebody’s got to right the ship before it sinks. While I have not declared for that race, we are making plans to make a strong run should I decide to.”

Plans for a gubernatorial run quickly entered Robinson’s head after he was elected as lieutenant governor in 2020 and Cooper defeated Republican challenger Dan Forest.

“It did create a clear path for what I might do next,” Robinson writes.

Robinson signaled little appetite for holding federal office, noting he declined to run for an open U.S. Senate seat this year held by outgoing Sen. Richard Burr. He also says he hasn’t pursued what he describes as calls for him to be placed on a ticket as U.S. vice president.

“At the moment, I’m laser focused on the executive branch of the government in North Carolina,” he says.

2. Robinson wants to eliminate the State Board of Education, leave science and history out of curricula for first through fifth grade

Education is perhaps the top policy priority for Robinson. He said he’d work to keep history, science and a number of other subjects out of first through fifth grade curricula and instead prioritize reading, writing and math.

“In those grades, we don’t need to be teaching social studies,” he writes. “We don’t need to be teaching science. We surely don’t need to be talking about equity and social justice.”

Robinson also reaffirms personal views on climate change that became a major issue in the 2020 election. “Guess what? Most of the people of North Carolina know global warming is junk science,” he writes.

As lieutenant governor, Robinson is a voting member on the State Board of Education. He nonetheless says he’d like to eliminate the department if he could.

“I would get rid of it,” Robinson writes. “We need to have one entity, one person, where the buck stops. Right now we have at least three: the school boards, the state superintendent of education and the local school systems—and none are truly answerable to the others. We need one entity to be in charge of education in the state so that when the legislature has questions and concerns, they can go to that single institution and expect to influence the way education is done.”

Robinson also wants a sizable expansion of school voucher programs to make it easier for students to move to high-quality charter schools, saying that public schools could become “a thing of the past.”

“We need to build more, not limit them,” he says of charter schools. “And if we find success along the way, we should bring it into the system. We might adopt charter school methods throughout the system. We might see a mass exodus from the public schools entirely, and before you know it, traditional public schools might be a thing of the past.”

Vouchers pay for private schools, but not charter schools, which are free alternative public schools.

He also says schools need to do a better job of disciplining students who misbehave in the classroom but that instilling values of right and wrong ought to be left to parents.

“If a child is hindering their own or others’ learning by misbehaving, the child must be stopped or removed from the classroom until they can demonstrate proper behavior,” he writes. “Ideally, these children would be returned to their parents or guardians until they are able to behave at school.”

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